The tradition of strong women of faith leading on justice work in North Carolina runs deep. So its no surprise that in response to a series of ICE raids throughout Western North Carolina, JOIN Clergy Fellow Rabbi Batsheva Meiri of Congregation Beth HaTephila in Asheville is stepping forward with her lay leaders, and becoming true partners with their undocumented neighbors — beyond the ally and sanctuary support role they’ve played up to this point. Among Rabbi Meiri’s lay team leading with her are two women in their 70s who, with their undocumented partners, have been literally chasing and tracking ICE as they barreled through Asheville in the last week. This past weekend Rabbi Meiri gave testimony at a county commissioner’s meeting about the basic inhumane premise of the raids, in addition to organizing with other clergy partners an interfaith clergy statement released to the public and press, turning the heat up on ICE for their abusive treatment of undocumented immigrants. She is refusing to stay silent while her neighbors are being rounded up and thrown into detention centers. Speaking with ABC News 13 on April 18 (see video above), Rabbi Meiri challenged the underlying dishonesty of our immigration system, which she says prohibits illegal immigrants yet benefits from their work in certain sectors of the economy.
Far from standing idly by — Rabbi Meiri is making waves.