Sanctuary Meeting
(and post-Pesach Bagelfest!)

Sunday, April 8

The BIC Social Action committee explores affiliation with Dane Sanctuary Coalition

“Love the stranger as yourself, for you were strangers.”

Today, the strangers most in need of our love—or at least of our help—may not be strangers at all, but neighbors, workers we encounter in our daily lives, parents and students at our own children’s schools.  Their only “strangeness” lies in their vulnerability under current US immigration policy.  Mindful of the Biblical call to love the stranger, the Social Action committee at Beth Israel Center is assessing the possibility of joining the Dane Sanctuary Coalition (DSC) as a Supporting Congregation.  Congregation Shaarei Shamayim, with its host, First Unitarian Society, has joined as a Housing Congregation (as have four churches), and Temple Beth El has joined as a Supporting Congregation (as have six churches).   Supporting congregations offer volunteer assistance in various ways, based on individual abilities and host-congregation/sanctuary-recipient needs; opportunities range from shopping or running errands to donating professional services to helping provide 24/7 in-house accompaniment, prepared to inspect any warrant presented by ICE officials and to call on the DSC’s Rapid Response Team.

From noon until about 2:00 on Sunday, April 8, BIC’s Social Action committee will host a meeting for the congregation—post-Pesach bagels provided!—offering both expert speakers and ample time to ask questions, voice concerns and engage in discussion.  Our panel will include:

•    Matthew Gillhouse, a local attorney with extensive experience in immigration law and a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association
•    Fabiola Hamdan, Dane County’s Immigration Affairs Specialist, who came to the US in her teens and has now served almost two decades as a social worker, activist, mentor and role model
•    Reverend Winton Boyd, Senior Pastor of Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ, whose membership last June voted to become a Housing Congregation in the DSC.  

Sergio Gonzalez, active in both Voces de la Frontera and the DSC, will also join us and can answer questions specific to the Coalition.

Please save noontime, April 8, and take part in this meeting!  Please invite and remind your friends to take part also!  As more time goes by without reform of US immigration law, the non-citizens among us—even those with green cards—will grow more vulnerable, and the pressure on our neighbors for taking sanctuary will grow greater.  Committing BIC to serve as a Supporting Congregation would not oblige our synagogue, or any individual, to carry out any illegal act.  Come to this meeting, learn about today’s sanctuary situation, ask your questions and speak your mind.  We will report to the BIC Board of Directors participant responses to the sanctuary proposal.

BIC has a proud history of providing sanctuary in the 1980s.  Now the times and the needs have changed, but the call on us to love the stranger does not change.

For more information, please contact Judy Pierotti and/or Sally Jones, SAC co-chairs, at