Rachael Dubinsky, JALSA Communications Director
BOSTON, March 21, 2019—TODAY, the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action (JALSA) and activists from the Anti-Defamation League, Keshet, New England Jewish Labor Committee, Kavod, Massachusetts Interfaith Worker Justice, Massachusetts Board of Rabbis, the Social Justice Team at Congregation Beth Elohim (Acton), Temple Isaiah (Lexington), Congregation Etz Chaim (Cambridge), Congregation B'nai Israel Tikkun Olam Committee (Northampton), Temple Beth Zion (Brookline), Temple Beth Elohim Immigration Justice Group (Wellesley), Temple B'nai Tikva (Canton), Tzedek@Sinai (Temple Sinai, Brookline), and Tikkun Central of Temple Israel of Boston delivered a Purim message to the Governor and state legislators: take action to pass the Safe Communities Act as soon as possible.
The group was also joined by Safe Communities Act co-sponsors Sen. Jamie Eldridge, Rep. Ruth Balser and Rep. Liz Miranda.
“It’s time for our Governor and Legislature to pass the Safe Communities Act this session,” said Cindy Rowe, JALSA Executive Director. “Our Jewish tradition tells us that we must “welcome the stranger”—in fact, the Torah commands us to do so 36 times. It is not enough to listen to these ancient words; we here in the Commonwealth must be able to say that we acted courageously in the face of bigotry and xenophobia, and stood up for what was moral and just.”
Purim is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the Jewish people overcoming an oppressive king who wishes to obliterate them, as told in the book of Esther. The holiday is associated with themes of justice and standing up to power to protect the vulnerable.
The organizers of this event will deliver hamantaschen, the customary Purim treat, to the Governor and every legislator, as a reminder that this is a moment to stand up with and for our immigrant neighbors.
“On the Jewish holiday of Purim, we tell the story of a Queen named Esther who stood up to a powerful king to protect those most vulnerable,” New England Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League Robert Trestan added, “At the time, Esther was challenged with the following question: “Who knows if you have not come to your position for just such a time as this?”
“Like Esther, our legislators must decide whether to seize this moment to provide critical protections for immigrants and their families in the Commonwealth. We are proud to stand alongside JALSA and the Greater Boston Jewish Community in urging the Massachusetts Legislature to recommit to the swift passage of the Safe Communities Act to ensure the safety and security of us all.”
The Jewish community's story is deeply intertwined with immigration. Throughout centuries, the Jewish people were in the position of having to leave their homelands and settle as immigrants in new countries, including in the United States.
Immigrants in our state, and throughout the country, are under threat from the federal government. The passage of the Safe Communities Act in Massachusetts would guarantee that immigrants here would have their due process rights protected and would restore the ability of immigrants to trust in reaching out to police as a matter of public safety.
“Immigrants are the fabric of our communities and they deserve to live free from fear,” said Marya Axner, New England Regional Director of the Jewish Labor Committee. “The Jewish community will always speak out for immigrants because their struggle is our struggle. We look forward to working with the Legislature to pass the Safe Communities Act as quickly as possible.”
The Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action is devoted to engaging the community in promoting civil rights, protecting civil liberties and achieving social, economic, environmental, and racial justice.