Thursday, September 24, 2015

What to do with The Refugees?

The truth is, I don't really have a solution.

Just some brief thoughts on the refugee problem around the world:

Yesterday, in Yom Kippur Services we spoke how a famous Rabbi (Hillel) summed up the Torah (Old Testament) while standing on one leg. He simply said, "“That which is hateful to you, do not unto another: This is the whole Torah. The rest is commentary — [and now] go study.” This line comes from the Torah, "Love thy neighbor as thyself”(Leviticus 19,18)". 

To follow Yom Kippur's Torah Reading, the Pope said today ,"We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners."

Now comes the Jewish Holiday of Sukkot, which we remember that we were once nomads in the desert after fleeing a Egypt. We were refugees from a brutal dictator. How is this much different from today? One of our Rabbis encourages us to reach out to these people:
This Sukkot, I challenge us not to turn the page when confronted with their faces, but rather, to learn more about them, seek out opportunities to volunteer with refugees in our own communities, advocate on refugee issues or give tzedakah. We must also address the root causes of refugee crises around the world, by helping to build just societies where each person is valued and persecution is not tolerated. 
 But what about the economics of taking in more immigrants? The fiscally conservative magazine, The Economist, says:
Migrants are net contributors to the public purse. They inject economic dynamism. They are, almost by definition, self-starters.
Compassion and economics often work in the same direction. This may be an example.