Dayna Ruttenberg

I’m A Rabbi. Here’s Why I Decided To Get Arrested Protesting.

In the ancient Temple in Jerusalem, my ancestors offered animal sacrifices to God. That ritual was both an assertion that life is the most profound thing that we can give over and a statement that we could not — should not — offer our own lives…. Sacrificing an animal was not the same as giving up our own lives, but it was a powerful symbolic substitute.

I can’t actually offer my body to the refugees fleeing war or the undocumented people increasingly powerless against deportation: It’s not possible for me to offer my citizenship and status to those whose lives might depend on it. I can’t hand over my passport for their protection and safety.

So the offering I made was symbolic, if no less physical.

I chose to allow my hands to be cuffed, my body to be put into a jail cell. I chose to use my privilege and my position as a clergyperson — regarded in our society as having a special kind of moral authority — to send a message to the public and those with institutional power that this assault on human safety and dignity is unacceptable.

DANYA RUTTENBERG in “I’m a rabbi who was arrested protesting Trump’s travel ban. It was a holy act.,” Washington Post. February 9, 2017.