by Esther Ehrlich
“What do you think?” I ask.
It’s Sunday evening and Neal and I are sitting at our kitchen table. I’ve just shown him the email that I received from Julie, co-chair of the Immigration Committee, that’s stirred my heart. A caravan of 16 young transwomen and gay men have been making their way through Central America and plan to turn themselves in at the US border on Thursday to ask for asylum due to the trauma they’ve endured. There’s a chance that if they each have committed sponsors, they could be released rather than locked in an ICE detention center while they try to fight their way through the legal system.
“So someone would come live with us?” Neal asks, answering my question with a question.
“If they make it that far.”
The two of us just sit together quietly.
We’ve both been deeply disturbed by the hateful stance towards immigrants unleashed by he-who-will-not-be named. In response, we’ve gone to rallies and organized meetings and signed petitions and made phone calls and participated in trainings and I’ve joined an accompaniment team at Kehilla.
“This matters to us,” Neal says. “They matter.”
“So maybe we should step up?”
We don’t have much time to turn our maybe into a yes. If we’re going to do this, we have to write a letter to Homeland Security and under “penalty of perjury” declare that we’ll open our home to a stranger and provide for them.
The lawyers need the letter in a little more than 24 hours.
What Neal and I discover is that’s just enough time to learn more, leave lots of questions unanswered, feel scared, feel excited, hear from our two teenagers that they’re enthusiastically onboard, ask ourselves if we can really do this, and find our way to a deep, loud, solid, loving yes!
Yes, this matters enough to commit to, even though there are tons of unknowns.
Yes, we have room in our hearts and home to welcome in a person who needs us.
Yes, we trust that our community will help support us.
Yes, this is who we are, who we hope to be, as parents, as Jews, as people trying to cope with a world in such distress.
For more information about how to get involved in immigration-related actions, contact ImmigrationCommitteeChairs@kehillasynagogue.org