Is Sanctuary Coming to Temple Beth Emeth?: Upcoming Events

More immigrant families were deported or torn apart under the administration of President Obama than under any previous administration. The growing sanctuary movement in this country began under his administration, not Trump’s.

But he was a nice guy, he was handsome, he could talk in complete sentences with multisyllabic words, he didn’t embarrass us around the world, and he had what appeared to be a functional family. So he was given a pass by a lot of progressives who feared that attacking him would lead to someone worse.

Image result for "lourdes salazar bautista"

Well, now we’ve got someone worse. Trump and his gang of pirates are so unhinged, the entire world is in hysterics with laughter and terrified with horror at the same time. Immigrant families are being stalked outside churches, outside schools, and outside homes. In Ann Arbor this summer, Sava’s Restaurant was raided by immigration authorities looking for undocumented workers; and long-time Ann Arbor resident Lourdes Salazar Bautista, mother of three U.S.-citizen children, was sent back to Mexico, where she hasn’t lived for over twenty years.

Hearing the Call

Religious congregations around the country are hearing the call. They are drawing from their respective religious teachings, practices, and histories and embracing the sanctuary movement. But what does that mean? How does a congregation do sanctuary? What are its goals?

One congregation that has heard the call and is exploring what that means is Temple Beth Emeth, Ann Arbor’s Reform Jewish congregation. With a unanimous vote by Rabbi Josh Whinston, board president Carol Freedman-Doan, and the board of trustees, TBE’s Social Action Committee (SAC) was encouraged to become active in the local sanctuary movement and educate the congregation about what sanctuary means and how to do it.

In my upcoming article in the September issue of Washtenaw Jewish News, “Birmingham Temple Declares Itself Sanctuary; Is TBE Next?,” I talk about what’s happening at TBE. The article includes interviews with and comments from the board presidents and rabbis of Birmingham Temple, in Farmington Hills, and Temple Sinai, in Washington, DC, two Jewish congregations that already have declared themselves sanctuaries. Please share it widely.

Meanwhile, SAC is pleased to present its first four events encouraged by the board. You don’t have to be a TBE member to attend. All are free. Don’t miss them if you care about social justice and live anywhere near TBE, which is located on Packard Road between Stadium and Eisenhower.

 Calendar of Social Action Committee Events

Saturday, August 19 | 12-1:15 pm | TBE Adult Lounge

Guest speaker: Mary Anne Perrone

Should Temple Beth Emeth become a sanctuary community? What does that mean and how does a congregation do sanctuary? What are the ramifications? Why is sanctuary even necessary and what is its goal? The Social Action Committee answers these questions and more in its second Community Conversation. Special presentation from guest speaker Mary Anne Perrone, a member of the leadership team of Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights (WICIR) and co-founder of Washtenaw Congregational Sanctuary (WCS).

Monday, August 28 | 7:-00 – 9:00 | TBE Sanctuary (ironically)

Film: The Other Side of Immigration

Based on over 700 interviews in Mexican towns where about half the population has left to work in the United States, The Other Side of Immigration asks why so many Mexicans come to the U.S. and what happens to the families and communities they leave behind. Through an approach that is both subtle and thought provoking, director Roy Germano provides a perspective on undocumented immigration rarely witnessed by American eyes, challenging audiences to imagine more creative and effective solutions to the problem.

Saturday, September 9 | 11:30 am-12:30 pm | TBE Adult Lounge

Guest speaker: Margo Schlanger

How will becoming a sanctuary congregation affect TBE’s liability? What legal issues will arise? Will the congregation’s nonprofit status be threatened? The Social Action Committee answers these questions and more in its third Community Conversation. Special presentation from guest speaker Margo Schlanger, University of Michigan Law professor who is part of the legal team fighting to defend Detroit’s Chaldean community in federal court.

Monday September 18 | 7:00-9:00 pm | TBE Sanctuary

Guest speaker: Mary Anne Perrone

Should Temple Beth Emeth become a sanctuary community? What does that mean and how does a congregation do sanctuary? What are the ramifications? Why is sanctuary even necessary and what is its goal? The Social Action Committee (SAC) answers these questions and more with this repeat appearance from guest speaker Mary Anne Perrone, a member of the leadership team of Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights (WICIR) and co-founder of Washtenaw Congregational Sanctuary (WCS).

When You Need a Book Coach

I’m grateful to National Speakers Association-Michigan for allowing me to introduce my book coaching and editing services at the May membership meeting.

I talked about how I became a book coach, writing for self-discovery, and how I saw writing transform the lives of my students. For professional speakers, I said, having a book builds credibility and increases back-of-the-room sales.

Anyone can write a book if you’re passionate about your subject. So what are you waiting for?

If you’re interested in writing that book in you and would like my help, drop me a line. My email address is in the video. 

 

Charley Gets Married

Sit at Panera with Charley, disabled veteran of Vietnam era antiwar movement, prolific writer of freewrites and haikus. Describes himself as recognized expert on PTSD based on his experience battling it. Says he has traveled widely to address conferences; others have urged him to submit his lectures and opinions to Newsweek for publication. Right corner of his mouth rises slightly, see beginning of smile.

Tells me about his dream. He’s in Saigon trying to drive down a long road. Traffic is stopped, even on the dirt roads that run parallel to the main road. Armed guards are at every intersection. “I started talking with one guard. I remember him being child-like. The scene went hazy after that and I was uncomfortable that I had had that dream.”

On 100% disability. Knows any money he makes will reduce benefits. Wants my advice on how he might become a professional writer so he can raise the $10,000 he needs to bring recently married second wife, love at first sight, victim of sex abuse and PTSD, up from Louisiana.

Pretty certain likelihood is impossible for his immediate need. Suggest he call Newsweek and tell them what he’s got. They could take it as is or suggest a rewrite. Have to believe it can happen.

I ask, “Can’t you just drive her up in a car?”

He says, “She has a better mattress than I have. And her sculptures won’t fit in a car.” Drifts off momentarily. Returns discussing different subject.

 

Vibes at Panera

The back room is packed when I arrive at Panera. Pass young couple discussing immigration policies of national politicians, father feeding infant girl, mother restraining young boy. Woman with mole on her cheek sits by wall, recounting shopping adventure with hollow-eyed woman in shawl. Young couple holding hands, eating bagels, solemnly planning tasks of the day.

Spot lone empty seat. It’s mine!

When you sit long enough at one table, the table becomes marked as yours. Your spirit remains when your body leaves. Even first-timers leave it free. Vibe becomes your maître d’.

A Silent Moment at Panera

Young father cradling infant in left arm, holding bottle of milk in infant’s mouth with his right. Infant sucking vigorously on nipple while sleeping.

Infant looks up at father, eyes wide open. Father whispers gently to infant. Infant falls back asleep.

Father smiles as infant twists neck resolutely, mouth still shut tight, pulling at nipple, coaxing final drops. Father pulls nipple from infant’s mouth, rests bottle on table, strategically positions son over left shoulder, where dry diaper awaits its fate. Father gently pats infant’s back. Infant burps; diaper meets its fate.

Father wraps infant again in cradled arm until infant falls asleep. Father places infant in carrier, sends text.

A silent moment at Panera.

The Electrical Storm

Tables all taken when I arrive at Panera mid-morning, too early to be that full. Straighten up in restroom, visualize seat opening up when I’m done.

Favorite seat opening up as I enter dining area. Dump books, knapsack, and coat.

Long line to cash register, stretches to door. Note to woman in front, “Long line.”

Blames last night’s electrical storm. Says power company won’t even give estimate of when they might be able to give an estimate, so severe is the damage. Compares to historic event in 1998.

I ask how long it took to get those houses up, predict this time will be faster because technology is improved.

She agrees, asks how power affected my house. Admit I lost power for just long enough for clocks to all go out. Pretty lucky.

Fill iced tea cup, set up office, plug into Internet.

Oh no, power is out at Panera.

Good Banter at Panera

Standing behind young woman in beverage line, pouring ice chips, then iced tea into my cup as she squeezes four lemons into hers. When she sees me standing behind her, I anticipate, she’ll apologize for making me wait even though she was there first. I’ll tell her she beat me to it. That’s how strangers in line together banter at Panera.

Instead, she reaches for her lid. Then, as she slaps it securely over the mouth of her cup with her left hand, she hands me a second lid with her right. “Might as well get two as get one,” she says. Also good banter.

She hands me a second straw and moves on to find her seat.