“Go back to where you came from.” I was flabbergasted. These people don’t know me. Yet they feel emboldened to say such things to a complete stranger.
The term “stranger” has significance in Jewish texts. It appears at least 36 times in Torah. “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress them, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
The emphasis placed upon this directive in Judaism was the most compelling reason I chose to become Jewish. As a Mexican growing up in Texas, I often felt like a stranger in my own country. As a result of my dark skin and Spanish language, I had a keen awareness of my “different-ness.” I was a stranger in a strange land.
We must begin the dialogue of understanding one another’s stories. Until then, the stranger will continue to be the stranger, the unnamed other whose humanity is lost.