This week, the Board of Hinenu: The Baltimore Justice Shtiebl voted unanimously to support the sit-in taking place at Johns Hopkins University’s administration building to protest Hopkins’ plans to create a private police force and Hopkins’ ongoing contracts with ICE.
As part of Hinenu’s support, Hinenu members will join protestors at the weekly West Wednesday and Hopkins Sit-In rallies and other times as called upon by organizers. In addition, this Saturday after Shabbat services, Hinenu Rabbi Ariana Katz will lead community members to join the sit-in at Hopkins’ Garland Hall for a session called “Songs of Liberation and Solidarity.”
From its founding, Hinenu has been guided by the Biblical call to pursue justice (“lirdof tzedek”). As Hinenu’s website says, “We are a Baltimore community committed to pursuing justice and to acting in fierce solidarity with our neighbors.”
The sit-in leaders and their supporters are Hinenu’s neighbors, and they are resisting the presence of a private police force that is unaccountable to the representatives elected by Baltimore residents. We believe this is deeply unjust. Further, as Jews we find the criminalization and imprisonment of refugees to be unconscionable, and any Hopkins cooperation with ICE the same. As we say, “we were strangers in Mitzrayim [the Narrow Straits].”
Many Hinenu members have a personal stake in the sit-in. Many Hinenu members live in Charles Village and the surrounding areas. We worship at Homewood Friends Meeting House on Charles Street. Many Hinenu members work, go to school, or are alumni of John Hopkins University. For some Hinenu members, increased policing and ICE presence makes their lives or the lives of loved ones more frightening.
May we find the courage this Passover to move boldly together, taking risks to cross the Sea, a place where access to learning, joy, and safety is possible for all of us.
Please contact Hinenu Communications Chair Evan Serpick with any questions.