From a Jewish Perspective:

Rabbi Steven Bayar

Rabbi Steven Bayar

Rabbi Steven Bayar, spiritual leader of Congregation B’nai Israel in Millburn, delved into “The Jewish Perspective on Immigration and the Refugee Crisis,” on Tuesday, Dec. 5, at noon, at the Morris County Library, 30 E. Hanover Ave., in Whippany. The talk, part of a three-part series, was sponsored by Our Jewish World, led by Melanie Levitan. The series was free and open to the public.

Speaking about his Dec. 5 talk, Rabbi Bayar pointed out, “Never in the last several centuries have so many countries been facing crises of both emigration and immigration. As a historical people, we well know and understand the forces at play that have caused these catastrophic disruptions to millions of families over several continents. We will explore some historical parallels and access traditional texts and ethical issues involved in these events.”

The rabbi also addressed “The Law of the Land Is the Law: Jewish perspectives on the Current Political Dynamic in the United States,” on Tuesday, Jan. 16, at 1 p.m., also at the Morris County Library. Rabbi Bayar noted that “Jewish law requires us to obey the ‘law of the land’ unless it contradicts Torah law. Historically this has rarely caused issues with the Jewish community. Issues arise when the ‘law of the land’ conflicts with Jewish ethics. We explored the difference between Jewish law and Jewish ethics and how these differing perspectives form our opinions on current government policies.”

In a third session, this one on Tuesday, Jan. 23, at 1 p.m., at the Morris County Library, the rabbi explored “The State of Israel Today: Uniting or Dividing Us?” He observed that “Love of Zion and support of Israel have traditionally been uniting factors of the Jewish community. Though we may have disagreed on specific policies we always came together during times of crisis. This dynamic no longer applies to the Jewish community in the Diaspora. Current policies have been cause for growing divisions between political and religious groups in the United States. We will explore several of these issues and the challenges they present for us all.”