“Witness & Lament” interfaith vigil to lament the treatment of asylum seekers
and immigrants and call for healing and justice

Sunday, August 11, 2019, 4 pm at Temple Beth-El, 3330 Grove Ave., Richmond

“When racism and xenophobia are given license and permitted to run rampant
— we cannot stand idly by.” – Rabbi Michael Knopf of Temple Beth El, Richmond

RICHMOND – Sunday, August 11th is Tisha B’Av, the saddest day of the Jewish calendar, marking the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile that followed. This year, Tisha B’Av falls amidst the backdrop of a modern-day crisis: asylum seekers denied refuge and kept in unthinkable conditions, families separated and children locked in cages, and immigrant communities under perpetual threat of deportation.
Temple Beth-El, in partnership with local churches, mosques, synagogues, and community organizations is inviting people of all faiths and backgrounds to stand together in front of the synagogue on Sunday, August 11, at 4pm to hear from faith leaders, public policy advocates, and community members, and to sing lamentations, stand with those impacted, and call for a new vision of healing and justice.
Rabbi Michael Knopf of Temple Beth-El said, “Jewish tradition demands, and Jewish history affirms, that we have an obligation to speak out against injustice and combat hatred. When people seeking asylum from violence and economic devastation are denied refuge, and forcibly separated from their children, we must act. That’s why we are commemorating one of the most solemn days on the Jewish calendar by inviting people of conscience of all backgrounds to join us in demanding that our leaders put an end to these cruel policies and evil practices.”

Synagogues across the country are organizing similar interfaith events on August 11th. This is the second year that Temple Beth-El has hosted this event and approximately 200 people attended in 2018.
Date: Sunday, August 11, 2019, 4 pm
Location: Temple Beth-El, 3330 Grove Ave., Richmond (parking behind the temple (off Roseneath)

All faiths/backgrounds we welcome. Suggested attire: wear black or attire that reflects your culture’s mourning practices.

Hosted by Temple Beth El and co-sponsored by: Congregation Or Ami Social Action Committee, the Islamic Center of Henrico, the Islamic Center of Richmond, the Islamic Center of Virginia, Richmond Jews for Justice, Richmond Peace Education Center, Sacred Heart Center, Sacred Heart Parish, Second Presbyterian Church, Seventh Street Christian Church – Disciples of Christ, St. Johns UCC on Stuart Circle, T’ruah: the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, and Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church.


Media Contact:
Roberta Oster
Communications Director
Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy
Phone: 804-615-4192


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The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy advocates economic, racial, social, and environmental justice
in Virginia’s policies and practices through education, prayer, and action.
VICPP is a non-partisan coalition of more than 22,000 advocates and 750 congregations working for a more just society.