Menendez Rally to Keep Families Together
June 22, 2018
Remarks by Rabbi Faith Joy Dantowitz
My name is Rabbi Faith Joy Dantowitz. I am a rabbi at Temple B’nai Abraham in Livingston. As a rabbi, I often quote text and we’ve been hearing a lot about what the Bible says. However, it’s important to note that the Bible does not say to ignore the stranger, it does not say to persecute children and rip them from their families nor does it say to harden one’s heart. We are taught “There shall be one law for the citizen and the stranger who dwells among you.” [Ex. 12:49] and ‘v’ahavta l’reyecha kamocha–to love your neighbor as yourself.
I speak today out of my moral convictions in the pursuit of justice.
In the Torah-the book of Exodus–we learn about an act of moral obedience/civil disobedience of two amazing women, the Hebrew midwives, Shifra and Puah. When Pharoah said that all male Hebrew babies must be ripped away from their families—-and killed—Shifra and Puah defied the evil decree. They stood up for justice. They cherished children’s lives. They knew that families belong together.
I speak today not only as a rabbi but also as a mother who would do anything to protect my children. Even if we didn’t have the Torah and the example of Shifra and Puah, we know what is right and just. We know that the laws in place are neither.
This is a time for all of us to stand up and keep the pressure on to change unjust laws; to help families be reunited and stay together; to declare this is a state of moral emergency; to show that we must build this world on love, not hate.
We are told 36 times in the Torah “You shall not wrong or oppress a stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” [Ex. 22:20] We who have been strangers—or the “other”-know what it’s like to be made to feel “less than” unwanted.
I stand for love and justice. I stand with Shifra and Puah—protectors of children and families.
V’ahavta l’reyecha kamocha—love your neighbors as yourselves.