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:
- B’nai Keshet in Montclair, N.J.
- Columbia Jewish Congregation in Columbia, Md.
- Read a transcript of Rabbi Sonya Starr’s Testimony before the Howard County City Council on behalf of undocumented families.
- Shaarei Shamayim in Madison, Wisc.
- Read Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman’s writing about the process of establishing sanctuary and call to action.
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.