Kindness to Strangers

The Rabbi who spoke at the White House told the audience that his father came to the United States on the St. Louis, its last journey to the United States before making its famous “Voyage of the Damned.” As Obama said Wednesday night, now, it is other boats being turned away from potential asylum. Thus, as Jews, as people who have ourselves been turned away when seeking refuge, or have been accepted, begrudgingly and with a high tax for being who we are, we must open our doors to refugees, open our doors to the stranger as we are commanded to do each year on Passover.

By S.T.


Wednesday night – which happened to be both the 150th anniversary of the passing of the 13th Amendment and the fourth night of Chanukah – I stood in the White House, listening to President Barack Obama and a Rabbi (whose parents were both Holocaust survivors) talk about the origins of the holiday. Relative to Christmas, Chanukah is minor, but the story fits in with several other Jewish holidays – “they tried to kill us, they failed, let’s eat.” But I was pleased by the serious tone both the President and the Rabbi took; they both talked about the refugee and immigrant experiences of Jews, and how now, it is a different group that is in trouble, a different group to whom we must extend a helping hand. Both leaders drew a connection I often feel, between Judaism and compassion to those in need, and to hear a similar message from my president was deeply moving.

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Acro Abroad: France, Spain, Germany Edition

View over the Seine, Paris France
Galeries Lafayette on the Boulevard Haussmann
Bavaria, Germany
The Petit Palais, Paris France
French essentials in Marseille
Detail from Notre Dame de la Garde, Marseille France
Steps to Notre Dame de la Garde
The Azur Coast and its white limestone cliffs, Cassis France
Fresh fruit and juice in Barcelona’s Boqueria, which dates back as early as 1217.
Early morning in the Boqueria, Barcelona’s famous market.
Barcelona boardwalk puns
A little sweet treat from Laduree, Paris France.
Lobster paella in Barcelona
Graffiti in Le Marais, Paris France
Don’t forget. Paris France.
The Louvre has it all.
The look of resignation on that woman’s face is history captured in a single expression. The Louvre, Paris France.
Cassis, France.
Cassis, France.
Neo-Byzantine beauty. Notre Dame de la Garde, Marseille France.
Paris essentials: Strawberry, pastry, Chantilly cream.
Luxembourg Gardens, Paris France.
Aioli Marseillaise with seafood, Marseille Vieux Port, France.
High above the world in the Austrian alps.
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