Havurah Shalom, a Jewish congregation and IMIRJ member, led the reflection remembering the stranger. Each of us was asked to turn to another person and to answer two questions:
When did I/you feel unwelcome?
When did you/I feel welcomed OR How do I welcome the stranger or newcomer?
I shared with a tall man, a member of Havurah. I recalled at age 10 when I was new to a Portland school how lonely I felt. I remember sitting on a staircase by myself eating my lunch and wondering if I would ever be accepted into the group. My new friend talked about a California synagogue which was not warm and welcoming - he and his wife felt like outsiders.
Both of us had lived and worked in Latin America so our answers to the second question was how warmly we were received by Guatemalans and Colombians.
How do we show the same warm welcome to immigrants and other people new to our City? How would you answer this question?
Several people had signs expressing their commitment to stopping deportations.