July 9, 2019

A RELIGION, NOT A RACE:

Jewish Youth Say "Never Again" As They Protest Trump's Concentration Camps (STEPHANIE RUSSELL-KRAFT, 7/09/19, In These Times)

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY--Planes on their way to the airport fly low over a crowd of young protesters chanting "Racist ICE has got to go!" More than 100 Jewish and immigrant activists have gathered outside the Elizabeth Contract Detention Center in New Jersey, where Immigration and Customs Enforcement holds approximately 300 detainees.

Rabbi Salem Pearce leads the protesters in the Mourner's Kaddish, a Jewish prayer of mourning, for six immigrant children who have died in U.S. government custody.

"There are more who are not named," she says. "There will be more."

Periodically, the sound of a shofar horn rises above the chanting. The bugle-like instrument, traditionally made of a ram's horn, is blown on Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), and Yom Kippur, the day of atonement that follows. By sounding it at the protest, "it's like we're collectively repenting for the sins of America," explains Julia Davidovitz, a 26-year-old preschool teacher from Boston and the descendent of Jewish refugees. Her grandfather was incarcerated by the Nazis in the Minsk Ghetto, where he lost his parents and two sisters.

Down the road, a group of activists with a banner that reads "Never Again Means Close the Camps" links arms across the gate to the employee parking lot, briefly blocking employees from leaving as they demand the facility be shut down. Later in the evening, 36 protesters are arrested. 

The protest marked the beginning of two weeks of action organized by an unofficial coalition of Jewish and immigrant activists demanding an end to the detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants in the United States. Their message: that "Never Again"--an expression used in remembrance of the Holocaust--means never again for anyone.

Posted by at July 9, 2019 6:24 PM

  

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