As daylight waned Saturday, about 100 gathered in front of the Yuba County Courthouse in Marysville. Part multi-cultural religious service, part demonstration, the group urged Yuba County authorities to end a contract allowing US Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold detainees at the Yuba County Jail.
Opening with Native American dancers, before pivoting to prayers and lamentations for a Jewish fast day, commemorating the destruction of the faith’s first and second temples during antiquity, the worshipers sought to draw parallels to today. To children being separated from their parents and a rising tide of vitriol in political rhetoric.
Saturday night’s gathering was among a series of events nationally.
“We are compelled to act against this inhumanity. As Jews, we are commanded by the Torah to welcome the stranger.” Claire Lipschultz, a Member of the Board of Directors of the National Council of Jewish Women said.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement has roughly 170 people detained on its behalf in the Yuba County Jail. The County receives about $100 per detainee per day, generating 6.5 million annually. Federal authorities maintain that those held have committed criminal offenses. Activist Ruth Ibarra of Nor-Cal Resist counters that most had been arrested, convicted and served their sentences, only to be arrested by ICE upon their release from prison.
Rabbi Greg Wolfe of Congregation Beit Haverim in Davis, officiated.
“The closer we look at this story of Tisha B’av and the destruction of the temple, the more we see the mirror of what is happening today, how relevant the lessons to be learned are.” he said.
Greg Brucker, of Jewish Action Nor-Cal was one of the organizers.
“We’ve been watching much go on for a long time and no matter how much we want to say, no matter how much we care and how much we feel and how much we donate, the only way that this is going to have any chance of being stopped is if we do it.” he explained.
Brucker said ultimately, the group will try and convince the Yuba County Board of Supervisors not to renew its contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.