While the amelimot and the madatz spent Yom Tzedek (Day of Justice) helping the butterfly conservation effort, the chotrimot, solelimot, bonimot and bogrimot spent the day learning about and taking action for migrant justice in the United States.
The chotrimot and solelimot spent the day at Mosh. After an opening ceremony explaining the day, chanichimot split up by shichva for a peula about the issues facing asylum seekers, including Trump’s family separation policy. Chotrimot put themselves in the shoes of asylum seekers, thinking about which few items they would take with them if they had time to grab only a few things, while solelimot read and discussed different pieces of Jewish wisdom about loving the stranger. After the peula, the chotrimot and solelimot met back together for a themed song-learning session. We learned two of Woody Guthrie’s songs about how America ought to treat its residents of all colors: “This Land is Your Land” and “Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos.”)
After lunch, chotrimot and solelimot participated in a round robin of different actions to help promote justice for migrants and asylum seekers. Chanichimot wrote letters urging their representatives to take action, took photos for a social media campaign, and worked together to sew stuffed animals to send to children living in refugee camps.
While the chotrimot and solelimot were learning about migrant justice at Mosh, the bonimot and bogrimot were lucky enough to travel to the Baltimore offices of Jews United for Justice. JUFJ is a DC-based organization that mobilizes Jews to organize for issues of social, racial, and economic justice. JUFJ is the organization that we are partnering with in the coming year for the Bonimot Tzedek program – a year round social justice education program for high schoolers that develops leaderships and community organizing skills. Throughout the coming year they will be participating in activities and movement building like they did during Yom Tzedek. It was really amazing to be able to start this partnership off in the summer about such an important issue knowing that it is going to be something that continues throughout the school year. If you are interested in registering for Bonimot Tzedek the registration is now up at this link: tinyurl.com/moshtzedek
JUFJ’S organizers ran workshops for the bonimot and bogrimot about the history of migrant justice in the US and different organizing tactics. After chanichimot had learned about the background, the organizers told us about a pressing situation of a long-term undocumented immigrant mother who was facing imminent deportation. Chanichimot split into small groups to call different representatives and demand action from them to stop her deportation.
After the bonimot and bogrimot returned from Baltimore, they joined with the chotrimot and solelimot to participate in special chugim themed around migrant justice. Some chanichimot learned about Trump’s travel ban or the refugee crisis in Israel while others learned about celebrities whose refugee status they might not have known, like Albert Einstein or M.I.A.
We ended the day together with a ceremony. As we hummed the tune to “Olam Chesed Yibaneh (We Will Build This World With Love,)” chanichimot stepped forward to share something they were taking away from the day. Some chanichimot expressed feelings of anger and fear about the situation in America right now, but chanichimot shared a sense of empowerment to respond to our current reality.