Posts Tagged ‘immigrants’

New York lessons from the ‘ground zero mosque’

April 7, 2011


The story of the so-called “Ground Zero mosque” has spread halfway around the world to Turkey and to Hurriyet, the Turkish daily I scan (the English edition) on my iPhone every day. Today’s edition has an article by David Dyssegaard Kallick about lessons from the mosque. It’s not so much about the mosque as it is about the endless rhythmic flow of immigrants to New York.

Germans, Irish, Italians, Chinese and Jews, they were all considered “other” at first, despised and feared, but eventually each group became integrated into the New York scene, “not by shedding their culture, but by making a place for it in America.”

Kallick says he’s seen this movie before and it always has a happy ending. He explains why he’s certain that Muslims will find their rightful place in New York—shaping the city and being shaped by it. It’ll be another building block in America’s exceptionalism.



Don’t clamp down on would-be day laborers: they’re human, just like you and me

April 18, 2010

Screaming Frog Productions has produced a gem of a movie that helped me to think about the issue of immigrants—legal and illegal—who congregate to seek work as day laborers. It was directed by Jonathan Browning and has been shown at over 150 film festivals all around the world and won over 30 awards. Watch The Job, a three-minute movie that changed the way I think of day laborers. And made me laugh heartily.

The great first century Jewish teacher, Hillel, was asked—according to the Talmud—by a cynic to teach him the whole law (Torah) while standing on one foot. That was easy for Hillel. “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary. Go and learn it.”

Hillel was expressing the Golden Rule, which is at the center of ethical behavior in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Shintoism, in fact in every religion we know of, dating from the earliest recorded history. It’s hard enough to practice the Golden Rule when your “neighbor” is literally your neighbor, but it gets progressively harder as the “neighbor” becomes more removed from one’s experience. The Job made it easier for me.