Joint Statement on Immigration | Reconstructing Judaism

Joint Statement on Immigration

News

The leadership of Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association condemn with horror the travesty that has become our immigration system under the administration of U.S. President Donald J. Trump. The “zero tolerance” policy that first saw young children ripped away from their parents as they attempted to seek asylum and safety in the United States—and now is holding families locked up in detention—is immoral and a disgrace to the American and Jewish values we hold dear. With the fate of thousands of children still separated from their parents in doubt, we are raising our collective voices in protest.

Today’s Supreme Court ruling upholds President Trump’s ban on immigrants entering the country from five majority Muslim nations—a ban that is racist, cruel and further abandons America’s legacy as a welcoming country, a nation of immigrants and a home to people of all faiths.

As Jews, we recall our history as oppressed and wandering people who have sought refuge in many places over the centuries, including in the United States. We also recall our sacred texts that exhort us over and over again to welcome the stranger and to care for the immigrant in our midst. While we understand the need for safe and secure borders, we do not agree that immigration is by definition a threat to us or to our economy.

We Reconstructionist Jews see the erosion of welcome, the rule of law and due process, and the institution of anti-Muslim, anti-Latino and anti-immigrant policies as evidence of a severe moral decline. We call on Congress to enact real immigration reform, re-opening the doors that this administration is attempting to slam shut. We call for the renewal of a clean Dream Act, allowing permanent immigration status for the hundreds of thousands of young adults brought to this country as children.

We further call on our rabbis, congregants and members to continue the work they have engaged in thus far to provide sanctuary, oppose bigotry and resist the pernicious policies in place. We are proud of the efforts that so many leaders who identify with our movement have taken to date and share these with you as inspiration going forward:

  • The participation of Reconstructionist rabbis Yohanna Kinberg and Rachel Gartner in an interfaith clergy mission to the Texas border, representing Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Catholic communities.
  • Reconstructing Judaism and the RRA’s coordinated participation in sector-wide advocacy efforts led by fellow Jewish organizations: 
  • The publication of original prayers, rituals and poems by Reconstructionist rabbis and lay leaders on Ritualwell and others.
  • Participation in local and regional rallies, demonstrations, and ongoing protests to demonstrate collective power and readiness to mobilize.

We wish to acknowledge that Reconstructionist congregations and havurot have been engaged in deepening local coalitions to stand in solidarity with immigrant communities. In partnership with the New Sanctuary Movement, the following congregations have created physical spaces in their communal buildings to shelter immigrant families:

In these times, the strength of our networks, our determination to work toward the creation of a society that reflects our highest ethical values and the connection of our actions to a long lineage of unswerving commitment to the pursuit of justice in Jewish tradition and beyond impel us toward continued activism. May we work to build the world we wish our future generations to inherit.

Related Resources

News and Blogs

Let's Journey Together

In an essay that appeared in Philadelphia’s Jewish Exponent, Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D., makes the case that Reconstructionist Judaism matters now more than ever.

News
News and Blogs

Evolve: Sowing the Seeds of Constructive Evolution

Reconstructing Judaism has just rolled out Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations with the intention of hosting difficult, groundbreaking conversations that are nevertheless mutually respectful and supportive. We invite you to visit Evolve and to join the conversations!

News
News and Blogs

Notes from the Border

Rabbi Deborah Waxman, president of Reconstructing Judaism, reports on her participation in the national leadership mission to the San Diego-Tijuana border organized by HIAS and the Anti-Defamation League.

News
News and Blogs

The Poor People’s Campaign, a National Call for Moral Revival

The RRA recently became a partner of the Poor People’s Campaign (PPC). In the last two weeks the PPC has coordinated rallies and acts of civil disobedience in over 30 state capitals, including the participation of over 15 RRA members. 

News
News and Blogs

Drawing Comfort from Community

Belonging connects us to something larger than our own individual experience. I belong to the Jewish people because claiming this connection enters me into a millennia-old conversation and joins me into community both vertical—all those who came before me and all those who follow—and horizontal—the Jews of today, in all our diversity.

News
News and Blogs

Reconstructionist Communities Make Disability Inclusion a Top Priority

With a welcoming ethos and a drive to break down barriers, Reconstructionist congregations and havurot have been part of a revolution that’s taken place in the public awareness of the importance of disability inclusion and related services.

News
News and Blogs

Does The Torah Require Us To Publicize Names Of Sexual Abusers?

What does Judaism teach us about how to respond to accusations of harassment or assault?

News
News and Blogs

Keeping Judaism Alive Behind Prison Walls

Serving Jewish prisoners in state prison, rabbinic students find new perspectives on freedom and responsibility.

News
News and Blogs

Let My People Stay: Jews Demand a Dream Act Now

Eighty-six Jewish activists, including six Reconstructionist rabbis, were arrested in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 17 in a bold act of civil disobedience in solidarity with more than 800,000 Dreamers.

News
News and Blogs

Striving Towards Racial Justice in our Jewish Communities

Reflections on the recent Jewish Social Justice roundtable meeting on racial justice and equity.

News

Strange Thoughts: A New Take on Loving the Stranger

To truly live justly, we need to move out of our comfort zones and embrace unfamiliar ideas and habits of mind. 

Article

Shofar Kavannah for Refugees

This ritual invokes the blast of the shofar to articulate the plight of refugees. It was created for use at High Holidays in response to the presidential travel ban.

Article

Desperate Immigrants: An Ancient Jewish Story

Abraham and Sarah’s desperate journey to Egypt as refugees reminds us that remembering the heart of the stranger is at the core of Jewish experience.

Article

Addressing Race as a Jewish Community

As a time to take responsibility for communal wrongs, Yom Kippur calls us to learn about and grapple with issues of race in America.

Sermon

I Want You to Know I Am Human: Listening to the Stranger Behind Bars

Freedom from bondage frames the Jewish story. How, then, can we fail to listen to those who are now behind bars? 

Article