Editor’s note: Due to the spread of coronavirus, Congregation M’kor Hayim has postponed this event.
HIAS’ National Refugee Shabbat is a call to congregations across the country to dedicate sacred time on the March 20-21 Shabbat to honor refugees and asylum seekers. Congregation M’kor Hayim will hold a special Friday, March 20 Shabbat service with this theme.
Gloria Goldman, a local immigration lawyer, and Teresa Cavendish, director of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona Casa Alitas, will be the guest speakers. The Shabbat liturgy will reflect the theme of the evening, including songs and readings about immigration. The oneg will include pastries made by a local Syrian refugee
“We now are witnesses to one of the largest humanitarian crises in human history, with more than 70 million people worldwide who have fled their homes due to persecution and violence,’’ says Carol Weinstein, M’kor Hayim board president. “Our special service is intended to raise awareness about what is happening in our community and our nation, to recognize the work that has been done, and to reaffirm our commitment to welcoming refugees and asylum seekers.”
Goldman has practiced immigration and nationality law in Tucson since 1991, having received her J.D. from the University of Arizona the previous year. She served more than 10 years on the Board of Governors for the American Immigration Lawyers Association. In addition to numerous pro bono awards, Goldman has been active on commissions involving domestic violence and unaccompanied minors. She practices with her son, Maurice, in the firm Goldman and Goldman.
She will address the common question uninformed people ask when talking about people who are here undocumented — “why don’t they wait in line?” It’s about “the meaning of waiting in line in the context of what is impossible,” says Goldman. “This practice is a challenge that sometimes seems insurmountable. However, we have many successes that change people’s lives in significant ways. That makes the arduous struggle worth it.”
Cavendish is a native Tucsonan and a graduate of UArizona with a degree in management information systems. She has worked for CCS since she was 19 years old, in various clerical, administrative, and IT positions. She has been director of the Casa Alitas program since helping establish it in 2014.
Casa Alitas (Spanish for house of little angel wings) provides hospitality and humanitarian aid for mostly Central American migrant families seeking asylum in the United States. Each day, Immigration and Customs Enforcement takes families to Casa Alitas and releases them into the care of the program’s volunteers. Casa Alitas helps the families call their U.S. sponsors to arrange travel, and helps them get to the bus station or airport to continue their trips.
“Working with Casa Alitas, its families, and its volunteers has taught me many things about being a woman, a parent, and a person of faith. I have spent many, many hours with hundreds of volunteers who step forward with conviction and refuse to be discouraged, intimidated, overwhelmed, or dissuaded from doing what they know needs to be done to help others,” Cavendish says
The special service is 7-9 p.m. at Tucson Hebrew Academy, 3888 E. River Road. RSVP to [email protected].