Standing for Our Values: Why 19 Rabbis Were Arrested in NYC This Week
I sat on the police bus in the dark with my hands cuffed behind me, and I knew I was safe. During my arrest for civil disobedience with 18 other rabbis in protest of the Muslim ban in front of the Trump Hotel in New York City, the police had been respectful and even kind. I knew I had the right to participate in civil disobedience and that there are not yet laws criminalizing protest in the United States (as some lawmakers are proposing). I knew I was being represented by a team of excellent volunteer attorneys, and that I am white and not poor – and a rabbi.
These last factors felt like a kind of protection for me, making it unlikely that I would be mistreated. I was not afraid that I’d be kept in jail for weeks or months, even though people on Rikers Island, not far from where I was, are sometimes held for years without a trial. Habeas corpus is theoretically available in America (for now), and I trusted it would be available to me because of my privilege.
A moment like this is exactly what all of that privilege should be used for.