A believer in the achievement of dreams, President Obama has made impressive strides to make the DREAM Act a reality for so many young immigrants in our community, especially our Hispanic Jewish community. The opening of kosher Latin cuisine restaurants, the new Cuban/Latin Division at the Jewish Federation and even the option of attending Spanish Shabbat services demonstrate the rapidly growing Hispanic Jewish community — many of whom fled Central and South America to escape economic and political instability.
Not only have many Latino Jewish families found a home in South Florida, but they’ve greatly contributed to our society and brought a new element to our cherished Jewish traditions.
In June, President Obama ordered an end to the deportation of young immigrants who have overcome hurdles to succeed in America, and our own U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen praised his announcement. This bill will temporarily benefit more than 800,000 young people; some of whom are members of our synagogues and locals JCC’s. Jews from Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela and Puerto Rico have enriched our mispacha (family).
As Jews, we are taught the importance of Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh Bazeh — communal responsibility and standing up for each other’s well-being, especially in times of need. The president has proven his commitment to this notion, not just with his words, but with his actions. He has given young immigrants an opportunity to be productive and exemplary members of our society without fear. I can’t think of a better way to fulfill the mitzvah of communal responsibility than by giving our youth a shot at the American dream.
Our Torah teaches us the story of Joseph the Dreamer — a boy who was sold by his brothers and found himself in a strange land. With hard work and ingenuity, he worked his way up to be second-in-command of that land and was able to share his talents with his nation.
We Jews have all been a “Joseph” at some point in our lives, and it is crucial for us to stand together to support other dreamers, just as President Obama has done.
Deedee Weithorn, commissioner, Miami Beach