marks talking
Bernard Marks, a Holocaust survivor, is a member of Congregation B'nai Israel of Sacramento. (Screenshot/KXTV)

A ‘sanctuary synagogue’ in Sacramento

Congregation B’nai Israel, a Reform synagogue in Sacramento, has declared itself a sanctuary where refugees and undocumented residents of the United States can seek safe harbor from deportation.

B’nai Israel members voted to become a sanctuary earlier this month, ABC affiliate KXTV reported Feb. 23.

People who fear deportation can ask for help from Sacramento Area Congregations Together, which will contact B’nai Israel on their behalf, according to the news station.

“We would invite that person to stay on our premises and stay as long as they need to. We would provide refuge and fully shield them from being deported,” B’nai Israel President Alan Steinberg told KXTV.

B’nai Israel Rabbi Mona Alfi said, “We have too many people who have had people taken from their homes, deported because of the Holocaust. I think this is something that when we look at that — it’s impossible to look at it but from a personal perspective.”

B’nai Israel has a history of social activism. In June 2016, a woman was detained for protesting at the Western Wall carrying a Torah scroll that belongs to B’nai Israel.