For a while I thought I was crazy. I thought I was the only one up at night worrying, but I think others in America are waking up to the problem. Daily, I have been assailed by the European newspapers’ stories on the refugee crisis emanating from Syria, Iraq, Libya and beyond. I also witnessed the deafening silence from the American media. At least now, there seems to be awareness. It turns out that I’m not the only one in America talking about the crisis, there are quite a few others.
For those of you who are worried about our immigration problems, please be aware I am not talking about economic migrants, but refugees, people who have been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. I am talking about folks who experienced something of what our people experienced just over half a century ago.
Does anyone remember the St. Louis? It was a German ocean liner most notable for a single voyage in 1939, in which her captain, Gustav Schröder, tried to find homes for 908 Jewish refugees from Germany, after they were denied entry to Cuba, the United States and Canada, until finally accepted in various European countries, which were later engulfed in World War II. Historians have estimated that, after their return to Europe, approximately a quarter of the ship’s passengers died in concentration camps.
My country, Britain, is only now waking up to the need to take her share of refugees forced to flee ISIS and the militants who have caused Libya to fail. The British government was directly influenced by the British people. We can do the same. Get on the phone to Reid, to Heller, to Heck, to Titus, to Amodei, to Hardy. Tell them that as Jews, who are about to welcome guests into our sukkah, that we care about the vulnerable. Tell them that as Jews, who have just heard the call of the Shofar on Rosh HaShanah, we want to respond to that call and be our own loud noise, helping rouse those who slumber. Hear the call, be the call!
Rabbi Malcolm Cohen, Sarah, Elijah & Rachel