Rabbi Ariann Weitzman of Montclair’s Bnai Keshet helped lead in prayer more than 150 interfaith clergy leaders and supporters of immigrants as part of Faith in New Jersey’s program to resist deportations, which took place at Bethany Baptist Church in Newark on May 4.
“Those of us who live comfortable lives, those of us who no longer worry about surviving, help us to feel vulnerable again,” Weitzman said. “Our fear is nothing compared to the fear of deportation, the fear of violence in the places we have fled from, the fear for our children’s lives.”
Faith in New Jersey is affiliated with PICO National Network, founded in 1972 as a way to organize faith-based communities through shared issues. The local action was part of the national organization’s “Week of Prophetic Resistance.” The evening focused on Rutgers University chemical engineering student Carimer Andujar, 21, who was previously protected by the immigration policy known as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), designed to help undocumented minors in the United States. Andujar, who was summoned to appear before Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Newark on May 9, when NJJN went to press, was born in the Dominican Republic but has lived in New Jersey since the age of 4.
In addition to Weitzman, other participating rabbis included Elliott Tepperman, also of Bnai Keshet; Robert Wolkoff of Congregation B’nai Tikvah in North Brunswick; Joel Abraham of Temple Sholom in Scotch Plains; David Greenstein of Congregation Shomrei Emunah in Montclair; Jesse Olitzky of Congregational Beth El in South Orange; Bennett Miller and Philip Bazeley of Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick; Faith Joy Dantowitz of Temple B’nai Abraham in Livingston; and Eric Rosin of Neve Shalom in Metuchen.
The Archbishop of Newark, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, and U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) also addressed the interfaith gathering. The group was successful in advocating earlier this year on behalf of Catalino Guerrer, a Union City grandfather who faced deportation.
“Indeed we practice different faiths…but there is far more that unites us than divides us,” Menendez said.