In May 2019, compelled by our Jewish values, we will travel to the American Southwest, where a humanitarian crisis is unfolding at our borders.
Our members will visit Arizona border towns and cross into Mexico to meet immigrants and detainees, hear their stories, and offer support, such as by bringing them comfort items or attending their bond hearings to help ensure their fair treatment by the courts. We'll also learn from and volunteer with immigrant and refugee agencies and organizations. And we will trace the journey migrants take through the desert – providing aid and resources to a water station that supports them along the way.
By interacting with migrants, detainees, asylum seekers, and aid workers – and the authorities who enforce our national policies – we will delve deeper into the plight of migrants and refugees. As we begin to see how their story is our story, we’ll reflect on how their suffering should inform our immigration laws, and what we should do to make a difference.
We Jews are summoned to fight for fairness and human dignity. The most oft-repeated warning in the entire Bible is the admonition not to wrong a stranger: “You know the soul of a foreigner, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.”
Our people’s experience teaches us that an atmosphere of intolerance will not bypass the Jews. In that regard, next October Stephen Wise will travel to France and Belgium, where we'll speak directly with victims of anti-Semitism to show solidarity, offer our support, and learn more about the modern resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe – and how we can apply the experiences of our brothers and sisters there to the rise of anti-Semitism at home.
More information about the May 2019 mission, including a draft itinerary, is below.
We also invite you to attend one of our information sessions, where we'll discuss the crisis in the context of the Sonora region, go over the itinerary, costs, accommodations, and flight options, and answer any questions.
To register for the Southwest Border Mission please complete this registration form, or contact Social Justice Program Associate Daniel Liberman at or 212-877-4050, ext. 263, as soon as possible.
View a draft of the mission’s itinerary. (This itinerary will be updated and may continue to change up to our arrival in Arizona.)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are the dates of this mission?
May 19-23, 2019
How much will it cost?
The trip will cost $1,590+ per person, not including airfare (we estimate round-trip travel will cost $360 to $480). Participants are responsible for their own round-trip airfare and travel arrangements.
Are we flying together as a group or can I travel on my own and meet the group?
Participants are responsible for their own round-trip airfare and travel arrangements to Tucson, Arizona.
Where are we going?
The mission will meet in Tucson, Arizona. From there, we'll travel as a group to border towns in the greater Tucson area. The mission will also cross into Mexico.
Do I need a passport?
Yes. Each and every mission participant will need a valid passport.
Who will lead the mission?
Stephen Wise Free Synagogue Senior Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch and Associate Rabbi Samantha Natov will lead the mission with Social Justice Program Associate Daniel Liberman. We are also partnering with nongovernmental organizations, including BorderLinks.
Who can join this mission?
This mission is open to both Stephen Wise Free Synagogue members and non-members.
If you're interested in becoming a member of Stephen Wise, you can learn more here, or contact our membership coordinator, Donna Levine, at or 212-877-4050, ext. 223.
Can children participate?
This trip will expose participants to the real-life circumstances of the humanitarian crisis at our borders. We encourage you to share this eye-opening educational opportunity with your children over 15; however, each child is different, and you should think carefully about whether it will be appropriate for yours.
Are meals included?
Breakfast is included every day, as are most lunches. Water and snacks will be provided during group travel to scheduled activities. Some lunches and all dinners are at the discretion of trip participants.
Will there be time for leisure or sightseeing?
Scheduled activities should conclude by 7 p.m. on most nights, and there will be time for leisure and some independent sightseeing or travel.
I am not able to join the trip but would like to support it. How can I help?
Our goal is for all members of the Stephen Wise community to help support our social justice programs, and we encourage you to become active with our social justice task forces.
Monetary donations are also welcome. No donation is too small. Donate online or call our development director, Monika Hamburger, at 212-877-4050, ext. 253.
PRICING AND REGISTRATION
The trip will cost $1,590+ per person, excluding airfare (we estimate round-trip travel will cost $360 to $480). Participants are responsible for their own airfare and round-trip travel arrangements to Tucson, Arizona.
To register now, please complete this registration form. If you have any questions or for information, please contact Social Justice Program Associate Daniel Liberman at or 212-877-4050, ext. 263, as soon as possible.