Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Week 5 Update

· Campaign Updates

· 6 Reasons why the Jewish Community Should Respond to the Call of Justice and Act on Immigration Reform and Ending Raids

· Mpls Jewish Film Festival Showing of “Welcome the Stranger” trailer by Steve Date, on Postville (flier attached for circulation)

· 7th Annual Immigrant Rights Freedom Seder (flier attached for circulation)

Campaign Updates:

Jewish Community Action is happy to say that Progress by Pesach has been overwhelmingly embraced by the American Jewish community. Supporters range from affiliated to non-affiliated, Renewal to Orthodoxy, institutional to informal, as well as countless supporters from immigrant and immigrant rights communities. Seeing this kind of support for immigrant rights coming out of our community is inspiring to us, and we hope it is to you too.

-1,600 + signatures collected, we still need 8,400 more to reach our goal of 10,000

-21 National and locally based Jewish organizations have signed on and are actively working on and engaging in the campaign- that means tens of thousands of people in our communities are learning about and acting for immigrant rights!

-Locally, JCA members and volunteers are hosting house parties and giving D’vars about immigration issues and Progress by Pesach at their congregations – if you want to join in, just let us know.

Sign the petition and letters at www.progressbypesach.blogspot.com – look for local and national versions in right hand column.

Already signed petition? Forward on to your friend and family.

Six Reasons - Among Many Others - Why the Jewish Community Should Respond to the Call for Justice and Act on Immigration Reform Including an End to Raids:

36 Instances in the Torah Instruct Us to Care for the Stranger in Our Land, Recalling Our Time in Egypt:
Leviticus 19:33 commands, "When a stranger (ger) resides with you in your land, you shall not wrong him. The ger who dwells with you should be like one of your citizens."

Jewish Tradition Demands that We Redeem the Captive
Today, a multitude of immigrants and asylum seekers spend their days in U.S. detention centers facing deportation. Detained immigrants are separated from their families and are often kept in deplorable conditions without access to proper medical care.

Jewish Values Command Us to Care for the Poor:
Many undocumented workers are exploited by their employers, who take advantage of their vulnerable situation forcing them to endure unsafe working conditions and low wages.
We are commanded in Deuteronomy Chapter 15: 7 to care for the poor in our land as it is said: “If there be among you a needy man, […] you shall not harden your heart, nor shut your hand from your needy brother”

Our Jewish Journey Obligates Us to Identify with the Immigration Struggle
“[H]istorically, the Jew has been considered an alien; a stranger, an outsider even in host societies where Jewish communities had flourished for thousands of years. Indeed, the traditional founder of Judaism, the Patriarch Abraham, was himself a migrant when he followed the call to leave his kinmen and his birthplace, Ur Khasdim, with its many associations and memories, and to migrate as a stranger and wanderer to Canaan, the Promised Land. From the Jewish perspective, migration has not only served as a safety valve to escape possible destruction; it may also be considered the loom upon which the distinctive and variegated pattern of Jewish history has been woven through the ages.”

Our Own Jewish History Calls on Us to Respond with a Strong Voice to the Immigration Crisis
When Jews arrived in Eastern Europe in the early 20th century, they faced harsh and difficult immigration policies and then deplorable living conditions once they finally arrive in the US. For example, when Jews arrived at Ellis Island, they underwent dreaded medical examinations and psychological tests. Moreover, many had been slated for deportation by the sometimes harsh and imperious-acting officials. Because of language barriers and legal formalities, immigrants scheduled to be deported were rarely able to defend themselves. Jewish institutional intervention with the Board of inquiry on their behalf effectively decreased the number sent back.

Our Experience Advocating for Immigration Reform Mandates Us to TAKE ACTION NOW
The Jewish community and its institutions have been actively engaged in the struggles of new immigrants and in the development of the nation’s immigration policy from the early 19th century until today. We have advocated against the national origin quota systems, championed the cause of refugees, and fought to restore due process protections and access to public benefits.

Courtesy of Irene Lehrer Sandalow at Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (Chicago)

Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival Presents: Premier screening of Welcome the Stranger

A trailer to the full length film coming soon about the July 09 Postville Solidarity Rally, by Steve Date and Jewish Community Action

Wednesday, March 11 @ 8:15PM at the Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival (Sabes JCC) in Minneapolis

On May 12, 2008, approximately 900 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) agents entered the Agriprocessors kosher meatpacking plant in the small town of Postville, Iowa and arrested nearly 400 workers. Instead of charging the undocumented workers with immigration violations, for the first time, many were charged with felonies and sentenced to 5 month prison terms plus deportation. On July 27, 2008 Jewish Community Action, along with the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (Chicago) and St. Bridget Catholic Church (Postville), led a rally in Postville calling for immigrant and worker rights, in solidarity with those affected by the immigration raid.

Welcome the Stranger, a film currently in production by MinnPost video journalist Steve Date and Jewish Community Action takes you to the rally in Postville to see and hear Rabbis, Christian clergy, workers and their families come together in support of worker and immigrant rights.

To order tickets: www.mplsjff.org, FFI: lauren@jewishcommunityaction.org

Jewish Community Action’s 7th Annual Immigrant Rights Freedom Seder

Sunday, March 22 doors @ 2PM, event starts promptly at 3PM at Mount Zion Temple in St. Paul

$5-$10 suggested donation, no one turned away for lack of funds, light Seder food will be provided, families and all ages welcome

Passover is a time when we celebrate our freedom from bondage, remember when we were strangers in a strange land, and connect our history to modern-day liberation struggles. Our Immigrant Rights Freedom Seder brings together people from diverse backgrounds to share the story of Passover and its message of freedom. This year the theme is immigrant rights and worker justice. We will highlight two campaigns: Progress by Pesach, the Jewish call for an end to immigration raids and Hekhsher Tzedek, a consumer effort to improve the working conditions in the kosher food industry.

Please RSVP by March 12th: lauren@jewishcommunityaction.org, 651.632.2184