Rabbi Gustavo Kraselnik
Congregation Kol Shearith Israel
It is disappointing, but still a testimony of the current times: the word “xenophilia” –love of foreigners– is not even recognized as such by the dictionary, while its antonym, “xenophobia” –hatred of foreigners– is quite popular.
The Jewish tradition holds a particular commitment regarding the protection of the stranger. The Talmud (Baba Metzia 59b) wonders: why does the Torah warn us in 36 different spots about our behavior towards the ‘Ger’, the stranger? We can assert that this concern comes from our own experience. Our story begins with an immigrant, Abraham our patriarch, and our identity as a people is forged through the liberation from slavery in the land of Egypt, the perfect example of the fragile situation people without legal protection are submitted to.