A Letter from Robert Bank, AJWS President and CEO:
I have been haunted for days by the photo of a Rohingya woman mourning her dead baby on the shores of Bangladesh that appeared in The Huffington Post last week.
This mother and child were among the estimated 400,000 Rohingya — a persecuted ethnic and religious minority in Burma — attempting to flee their country. Tragically, their boat capsized. The mother survived. But her 40-day-old infant did not.
The Burmese government has stripped the Rohingya people of their rightful citizenship, and soldiers are destroying entire Rohingya communities, brutalizing children and raping women.
As I read each news report and hear directly from our grantees in Burma, I believe ever more deeply that it is our moral responsibility — as Jews and global citizens — to help the Rohingya people. As Jews, we are all too familiar with this kind of persecution, and we cannot stand idly by.
As Yom Kippur — the Jewish Day of Atonement — approaches, I know that our community won’t stand by as the threat of genocide against the Rohingya people looms large.
When I stand in synagogue and recite the prayer that asks, “Who shall live and who shall die?,” I will reaffirm my commitment to ensuring that the Rohingya people will live. Today, tomorrow and for generations to come.