During the recent OHALAH conference in Colorado (15-18 January), I had the opportunity of giving an introduction to the nearly completed first stage of a project to identify a way to renew ger toshav / permanent resident as well as an update on the various projects I have been working on. I am happy to now share that report with you.
This comes at a moment of deep worry about issues of inclusion and relationships with “others.” Last weekend, President Trump signed the order which legitimized suspicion of others, particularly Muslims, and applied blanket restrictions on their travel and eligibility for asylum in the United States. And, almost literally as I write this, we in Canada have also experienced a terrible attack on Muslims in prayer at their mosque in Quebec City, leaving six dead and five in serious to critical condition in hospital.
As I say in my talk, it may seem anachronistic to talk about the renewal of ger toshav when there is so much to respond to and distract us from this kind of work. At the same time, I believe it to be an act of faith in a better future, something which has motivated Jews for centuries despite and during the more terrible times in our own history. A renewed ger toshav opens doors and makes boundaries more porous, allowing for deep relationships between Jews and those with whom we have love affairs, whether as parts of shared families or community life or both. We therefore affirm our belief in a better world, one which we help bring into being, and chart at least one more step in that direction, even as we stand in opposition to current fears. It is my hope that you will see this project for what I hope it is, namely that small step in the messianic direction so needed as we struggle to bring light to our lives and those of the countries in which we live.
At the end of the talk, I shared a prayer for peace from an album by Maureen Nehedar called “Asleep in the Bosom of Childhood.” The links to both the talk and the prayer are below.
With prayers for light and peace as we begin to move into Spring.