Refugees

Fri, 2018/01/26 - 2:51pm | Your editor
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The warmth of the setting sun is shining on my back;

Got some memories of yesterday tucked safely in my pack..

Just one more hour of daylight as I walk this endless road,

And I'm grateful for the earth and sky to be my new abode.

 

Every step a revelation, every mile an open door,

Far behind, an old life smolders in the hazy fog of war.

Now the moonlight is upon me as I settle into night,

She reminds me to have courage as I take this valiant flight.


   For my heart is my compass, the horizon my new friend,

There are rivers to cut across and mountains to ascend.

A gentle night wind whispers there are better days ahead,

Got a blanket of stars above to keep me warm in bed.

 

Blanket of Stars, by Daniel Neer, on the occasion of the United Nations Chamber Music Society of the UN Refugee Council's benefit concert for refugees, All Saints Episcopal Church, Jan. 29, 2017.

 

Last night at a local community meeting at the Catholic Center, the Levy Choir of All Saints sang this song about refugees—something of an ecumenical occasion.

 

My parents were refugees from Nazi Germany equiped with papers, passports, visas, cash, baggage, and affidavits of support. The affidavits were hard to get in 1937 and calling on wealthy relatives long settled in the US didn't always result in them taking a financial risk on their German cousins. (The affidavit requirement was dropped after World War II.) My family history and this song explain why I oppose the Administration position and that of some European countries to restrict immigration. It is also why this Shabbat I will recall Holocaust Memorial Day. My maternal grandparents and one of my father's uncles didn't manage to emigrate and died in the camps.

 

My building demanded that I remove from my door to the world a small card from HIAS (the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) reading “my people were refugees too”. This is a reaction to that move by the board and the management company being enforced by the super.

 

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