Jewish Journal

When We Hear the Cries of Children

Dear all,

A story is told of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi.

He and his grandson, Tzemach Tzedek, were each studying Torah in their own rooms.  In a third room on the far side of their home was a baby sleeping.

Suddenly, Rabbi Zalman heard the baby begin to cry, so he rose from his studying and went to the room where the baby was to soothe the baby back to sleep.

But the grandson, Tzemach Tzedek, was too immersed in his studies to notice the baby crying. Rabbi Zalman then said to his grandson, “If someone is studying Torah and fails to hear a baby’s cry, there is something wrong with his learning.”

(Story inspired by words of my friend and colleague, Rabbi Allison Bergman Vann).


Friends, in the past weeks, the cries of children have been so very profound in our country.  While our immigration laws need to be taken very seriously, we can not in good faith stand by as people cite religious values that give permission to this situation. And we can not become so immersed in the letter of the law that we become deaf to humanity.

Washington is striving to find a way forward with the law.  But babies are still crying.

We, therefore, must act now to help.  Please scroll down and follow the links in this email for action items.  This is our moment in time to
rise from our routine, to acknowledge the crisis, and to work toward a solution.

Shared with love and shalom,

Rabbi Zach Shapiro

1. Sign the State of Emergency petition, sponsored by Bend the Arc with IKAR, Tru’ah, the URJ’s Religious Action Center, HIAS, and the ADL.

2.  Attend the Families Belong Together National Day of Action on June 30, 2018.

3. Include one of these prayers in your home this Shabbat.

4.  Call or write your elected representatives to tell them how your Jewish values inform you about this situation.

5.  Send supplies directly to Texas, including:




Baby supplies

sealed snack foods

stuffed animals

phone cards

Please send them to:

Temple Emanuel

Attn: Michael Blum, Social Action Chair

4300 North C Street

McAllen, TX 78504

Rabbi Zach Shapiro

Rabbi Shapiro is not only the spiritual leader at Temple Akiba, but has been a source of guidance, support, reflection and a good hug since 2006. A native of Boston, Rabbi Shapiro has lived in Los Angeles since his Ordination from HUC-JIR, Cincinnati in 1997. He met Ron Galperin that same year, and they were married in a religious ceremony in 2002, followed by a legal ceremony in 2008.