“Welcoming the Stranger”: Reflecting, Learning, and Acting on Immigration Issues

“Welcoming the Stranger”: Reflecting, Learning, and Acting on Immigration Issues

In his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Dr. Martin Luther King wrote:

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

As we consider Dr. King’s legacy and aim to understand how to respond Jewishly to important topics in the American public sphere such as: immigration, refugees, and borders, “Welcoming the Stranger” will be an opportunity to reflect on Torah values regarding the ger, or stranger, learn about current issues and events from various perspectives, and respond by putting our values into action.

Program

(subject to change)

Friday night, January 12 – Reflecting on “Welcoming the Stranger” as a Jewish issue

5:30pm                Donor Reception and Torah Study with Rabbi David Segal–Religious Action Center’s Reform Texas Consultant–and CBI’s Rabbis.

6:30pm                Shabbat Dinner: Share a meal with recent immigrants living in Austin and share your own family’s immigration story.

7:30pm                Shabbat Services with Rabbi David Segal, guest speaker.

9pm                     Oneg Shabbat (Shabbat Refreshments); visiting with guest speakers.  Registration Open for Saturday

Saturday, January 13 – Day of Learning

8:15am               Donor Breakfast and RAC Update with Rabbi David Segal

9:15am                Torah Study, Parashat Vaera with Rabbi David Segal

10:45am             Interfaith Service: From Oppression to Freedom

11:45am              Pick up Box Lunches

12:00pm              Session 1 with Box Lunches VOICES OF IMMIGRANTS TODAY (Choose one)

  • Juan Belman, DACA recipient and activist  
  • Sulma Franco, activist who took sanctuary in an Austin church               

1-1:15pm         Mayor Steve Adler. Sanctuary Cities and Jewish Values               

1:15-2:15 Journalist Julian Aguilar of the Texas Tribune, Bordering on Insecurity.  View an award-winning documentary on issues of border security in Texas and discuss current developments with a lead journalist.

2:30-3:30pm                      Session 2: TEXAS VOICES (Choose one)

  • Julian Aguilar, The Economics of Texas Border Security
  • Virginia Raymond, Immigration Attorney, “Fleeing Persecution, Understanding Deportation Policies, and Aiding Asylum Seekers”
  • Joseph Chacon, Assistant Chief of the Austin Police Department, “Immigration Issues and Public Safety”

3:30-4:30pm                      Session 3: VOICES FROM HISTORY (Choose one)

  • Dr. Madeline Hsu, Migration as a Human Right:  Lessons Unlearned from Frederick Douglass, “Our Composite Nationality”
  • Dr. Robert Abzug, “Jewish Immigration to America Pre-Holocaust”       
  • Bobby Painter, Director of Pro Bono & Communications of American Gateways, “Recent Immigration Policy Changes”

4:30pm                Break

7pm                      Dinner and Evening Program at Sahara Lounge. Join us for an evening at the Sahara Lounge Africa Night.  Hear from club owner, Elaine Bristol and band leader, Ibrahim Aminou while they tell you of their journey in creating this special place, experience a buffet of African food and listen to the sounds of the AfroJazz band.  The club will open early at 7pm for our program, but your admission is good for an entire evening of incredible music and you can dance the night away!

Sunday, January 14 – Day of Action, Family and Teens Program/Activities

Program for Adults

9:00am            Breakfast

9:30-10:30am  Should We Build A Wall?:  Perspectives from the Talmud with Rabbi Sam Rose.

10:45-11:45am Session 4: TAKING ACTION (Choose One)

  • You CAN Make a Difference with Rebecca Lightsey of American Gateways and Miranda Roberts of Refugee Services of Texas
  • Becoming a Sanctuary Community, with Alejandro Caceres, Jake Crowther, Peggy Morton and Ann Glenn of Austin Sanctuary Network

12:00-1:00pm   Next Steps in our Community: an Open Discussion, with Rabbi Epstein

 

Program for Youth & Teens

9:00-11am      For 2nd-5th grade students, accompanied by a parent or caregiver.   We’ll be sharing our own immigration stories over a light breakfast, hearing from refugee activist and public activist Sedrick Ntwali, from Congo, sending postcards to our congressional leaders, learning about Jewish immigration, and making welcome signs for refugees.  Please meet in the Smith Auditorium.

 

11:30 am-1:30 pm    For 6th-10th grade students. 

 

  • Sixth and seventh graders will be viewing the film “Island of Hope, Island of Tears.” This award-winning documentary film reveals how and why millions of immigrants journeyed across the world to Ellis Island, hoping for a better life for themselves and their descendants.

 

  • Eight, ninth, and tenth graders will be viewing the film  “I Am Here,” an Austin teen-made film produced by Creative Action, about ICE deportation fears, and discussing the film with teen filmmakers.

 

  • After sharing lunch with teen filmmakers, all 6th-10th graders will participate in a session on how to call members of congress to advocate for their positions on issues of immigration, led by Dr. Deborah Beck.

MENSCH

$360

Invite a guest to all events for the weekend, including the Friday Night Donor Reception, Friday Night Dinner, Saturday Morning Donor Torah Study, and all Saturday and Sunday programming.

Thanks given on our website and program.

Thanks to the following:
Louise and Stan Adelman
Anne Alexander and David Kessler
Laura Corman
Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant
Ilene Gray and Joe Strouse
Melissa Pepper and Geri Joskowitz
Suzy Seriff
Mary Thompson and Paul Keeper
Rabbi Rebecca and Barak Epstein
ThunderCloud Subs
for becoming Mensches!

OY, SUCH A MENSCH

$1,000

Invite five guests to all events for the weekend, including the Friday Night Donor Reception, Friday Night Dinner, Saturday Morning Donor Torah Study, and all Saturday and Sunday programming.

Thanks given on our website and program.

Thanks to the following:
The Flying Carpet, Moroccan Soul Food
Turkish Raindrop House
for being Oy, Such Mensches!

MIGHTY MENSCH

$5,000

Invite ten guests to all events for the weekend, including the Friday Night Donor Reception, Friday Night Dinner, Saturday Morning Donor Torah Study, and all Saturday and Sunday programming.

Thanks given on our website and program.

Thanks to the following:
Leon Barish and Terry McGinty
L’Oca d’Oro Restaurant
for becoming Mighty Mensches!

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Committee Members

Melissa Pepper, Chair

Stan Adelman

Julie Lass

Stephanie Glass

Carly Cera, Director of Community Engagement

Annette Mass

Marylin Orton

Michele Schwartz

Michael Seay

Rabbi Rebecca Epstein, Director of Education


Volunteer Opportunities

We are looking for volunteers over the weekend to help with greeting, welcoming speakers, registration, cooking, set-up, and more.  If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Rabbi Rebecca Epstein at repstein@bethisrael.org

Contact Us

Address

Congregation Beth Israel
3901 Shoal Creek Blvd
Austin, TX 78756

Phone & Fax

P: (512) 454-6806
F: (512)-454-9493