|Circa 1950 Flyer Against Jewish Support for Civil Rights|
One of the most prominent features of Pesach - our annual rehearsal of ancient liberation - are the Four Questions. As we seem to have become obsessed with strangers in our midst - those who look or act or think different from us - I propose four additional questions.
These additional Four Questions are inspired by an attack on Jews nearly 60 years ago. It is not the attack itself that inspires me. Rather it was the reaction of 'strangers.'
The attack occurred nearly 60 years ago when an Atlanta synagogue was fire-bombed. Fifty sticks of dynamite causing nearly $1.5 million in damage (in today's dollars) just a few hours before the building was filled with students.
The firebombing was a reaction to local Jewish support for de-segregation and advancing civil rights for blacks. Jewish pursuit of social justice for strangers is the modern expression of a biblical imperative to elevate our treatment of strangers. Shortly after our ancient ancestors are liberated from Egypt, they are exhorted "not [to] wrong or oppress a stranger, for we were strangers [ourselves] in the land of Egypt." (Exodus 22:20.) No other exhortation is repeated so often.