U.S. Jews Protest Deportations, Including 'Jericho Walk' Around ICE Building

Jewish faith leaders march in support of immigration rights activist threatened with deportation. 'What would it have been like if in Berlin in 1933 non-Jews poured into the streets' to stand with Jewish community, asks Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum

NEW YORK — A group of nearly 100 people, including many Jews, gathered outside an ICE facility in Downtown Manhattan last week to protest on behalf of an immigration rights activist threatened with deportation.

Ravi Ragbir is the executive director of New Sanctuary Coalition, which for a decade has fought against the system of deportations and detentions in the United States. He is currently required to check in periodically at the ICE facility in Foley Square, which is what drew a multidenominational crowd to protest outside the building last Wednesday morning.

A group of faith leaders accompanied Ragbir inside the building. Meanwhile, more protesters performed what they call a "Jericho walk": Marching silently around the building seven times, a la the Walls of Jericho. After each circuit, they stopped and raised a hand toward the building, "waving" at Ragbir inside.

Jewish faith leaders at the protest included Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum from the LGBTQ Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in Midtown Manhattan. "What would it have been like if, in Berlin in 1933, non-Jews poured into the streets to say, 'We will stand with our Jewish neighbors and friends'?" she told Haaretz, explaining the importance of Jewish protesters taking a stand against ICE.

Meryl Ranzer from the New Sanctuary Coalition was also a key figure at the demonstration. She recounted growing up experiencing anti-Semitism in Long Island, which still informs her activism today. "How can we not come together with people who are being oppressed?" she asked.

Watch the video to hear more from the protesters and see the demonstration.