My Day in Court

January 17, 2019

Bearing witness in the federal courthouse in Tucson, I begin to understand how complicated the issue of immigration is. The court proceedings of Operation Streamline may be efficient, but there is nothing easy about observing the criminal prosecution of frightened, desperate people. In Nogales we learned about the criminalization of immigration. We heard about the desperation of migrants that traversed dangerous terrain and entered the U.S. to find safe haven and freedom, who were being … Read more

Praying at the Wall

January 9, 2019

Before I built a wall I’d ask to know What I was walling in or walling out, And to whom I was like to give offence. Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, That wants it down.  —Robert Frost We begin our walking tour of downtown Nogales at the DeConcini Port, before crossing an overpass and gazing at the lines of cars and trucks waiting to cross into the U.S. on the highway below. … Read more

Hands on Fire

January 3, 2019

After parking our rental cars at the Shell gas station in Nogales, Arizona and walking across the border into Nogales, Sonora on the shoulder of the road, we arrive at the comedor (lit., dining room). At 9 a.m. the building is nearly empty, except for staff and volunteers wearing yellow vests, who are preparing the food and setting the tables that will soon be occupied by more than 100 migrants. I can’t imagine how we … Read more

Mission on the Border

December 28, 2018

In my recent post on the Rabbis Without Borders blog, I share some stories from a recent immersion experience with the Kino Border Initiative in Nogales: We are a group of ten rabbis and educators, organized by Rabbis Without Borders colleague Charles Arian and hosted by a Catholic organization whose vision is humane, just, workable migration between the U.S. and Mexico. We adopt the language of their mission and strive to fulfill it. Humanize is … Read more

Taking a LEAP

December 4, 2018

My recent post on the Rabbis Without Borders blog is a reflection about beginning my tenure as a Rabbi Samuel T. Lachs fellow: This week I’m going back in time to my college days by taking a leap forward to become a student again in Philadelphia. Less than a month after celebrating the 25th anniversary of my ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary, I learned that I’d been accepted into the 2018-19 cohort of the … Read more

Thumbs Up for Resurgeons

November 15, 2018

Many of you heard or read the story of my fall. Not the season; the incident involving two dogs, one leash, a fire hydrant and Hailey. In that story, I try to emphasize the uplifting encounter with Hailey and downplay the injury to my thumb. In this installment of the story, I will also attempt to focus on the positive outcomes of spending nearly three hours at the doctor’s office. First, the nurse asks what … Read more

If you see something…do something! 

November 1, 2018

My recent post on the Rabbis Without Borders blog is a reflection on how an act of kindness from a stranger lifted my spirits after I fell: My physical bruises are nearly healed. The swelling in my thumb is still noticeable but I have enough mobility to be able to write and type these sentences with only minor discomfort. When I fell, the pain was so great I cried out in anguish, like a wounded … Read more