Yesterday, along with several other rabbis, I visited a detention centre near Heathrow airport where many asylum seekers are being held indefinitely. Unfortunately, it seems as though the system for dealing with those seeking asylum is broken. I spoke with one of the detainees who was trafficked illegally into the United Kingdom. He is now applying for asylum, but in the meantime has been imprisoned for several months and is likely facing deportation to his country of origin, where his troubles will no doubt continue.

We are now in the middle of Passover and are focused on the story of the Israelites in Egypt. According to our Torah, we came to Egypt because there was no food in Canaan where Jacob and his family were living. While there was food to be found in Egypt, our freedom was taken away with time. We were not equal in Egypt, but neither could we leave Egypt. The lesson of Passover is that even strangers deserve to be treated with both mercy and justly, and that no one can be imprisoned indefinitely simply because they are strangers in a land.

You can read more about this very important issue in The Jewish Chronicle.