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Social Justice Call to Action

Tuesday, August 14, 2018 • 3 Elul 5778

7:00 PM - 8:30 PM11827 Venice Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90066

Dear Friends, 

At the end of my Shabbat email sent out on Friday, I mentioned that each of us ought to choose a way for us to become a nation “worthy of the Temple.” I also offered that later this summer, we can discuss as a community our way to honor our ancient commitment to social justice. 

Many people wrote me and asked if we could do that sooner than later. We have decided therefore to offer an organizational meeting Tuesday night August 14th at 7 pm at the building to decide on some meaningful way to take action. 

I would like us to focus on providing some form of aid or assistance to immigrant families, legal or not, and especially find a way to help children separated from their parents. Therefore, if anyone has any special knowledge or expertise, please join us. Also, you may invite anyone who has such knowledge and expertise. Hopefully, by the end of the meeting, we will have decided on some specific action to take. 

I also mentioned in my article that my studying the plight of separated families at the southern border took me into the larger problem of children separated from families in general, a problem of which I was not aware, I am sad to say. While I would like our focus on Tuesday night, August 14 to be on immigrant issues, I also especially invite anyone who has knowledge or expertise about helping children separated from their parents because of the criminal justice system. Even if we decide not to put our energies there, there might be some of us who would like to volunteer to address that issue as well. 

If you would like to present an option, or bring a guest who would, please contact me directly at RabbiFinley@ohrhatorah.org 

Last note: As I wrote in my email, I detest the idea of separating children from their parents for no compelling reason. The “zero tolerance” policy that has resulted in this human catastrophe is, as I wrote, punitive, harmful and callous. 

I, like many others, think that one good thing that has come out of this tragedy is a huge awakening of passion to address this issue. I have my own, private opinion on one step to solve the immigration problem (vastly expand a work permit program and allow free, ongoing exit and entry), but I don’t want us to argue policy. I want us to translate our passion and words into action that will help people in direct ways. 

Please join us Tuesday night, August 14 so we can find a way to act together. 

Rabbi Mordecai Finley

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Sat, August 18 2018 7 Elul 5778