In Baltimore, MD, Immigration

My name is Sam Blau, and I’m a member of Jews United for Justice Leadership Council. We are a local grassroots activist organization. And we stand in solidarity with migrant families.

Something to know about Jews is that we have a section of Torah for each week of the year. This week’s Torah reading is about Balak, King of the Moabites, who sees the Israelites camping along his borders. They are still wandering after their flight from oppression in Egypt. Balak fears them. He fears their numbers, he fears their otherness, and so he calls upon the prophet Balaam to curse them. Balaam looks upon the camp of the Israelites and sees instead a people who travel with blessings. God opens Balaam’s eyes and he is able to see with “mochin d’gadlut”, a big mind or an open consciousness. From that moment of truly seeing the Israelites as they were, Balaam could only offer a praise so beloved we use it as a favorite prayer today:

Ma tovu ohalecha Ya’akov.

Mish’k’no’techa Yisrael.

How lovely are your tents, O Jacob.

Your dwelling places, O Israel.

Let us have our eyes unveiled as Balaam did. Let us look upon these asylum seekers as we would look upon the ancient Israelites: families fleeing violence and oppression in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Mexico, people who walk with blessings. Let us look with “mochin d’gadlut”, an open consciousness, and offer them praise:

How lovely are you families, your culture, your heritage.

Come join us in a land where all should be free.

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