Statement on President Trump's Executive Order Concerning Refugees | Reconstructing Judaism

Statement on President Trump's Executive Order Concerning Refugees

News

Logos of RRC and RRA

 

The Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College/Jewish Reconstructionist Communities are dismayed as President Trump prepares to take action to close the doors to thousands of refugees seeking shelter and relief from the humanitarian crisis in which they find themselves.

In one of his first acts since taking office, President Trump plans to reverse the foundational U.S. stance as a haven for those subject to persecution, genocide, displacement and violence.  His planned Executive Order will significantly limit how many individuals and families fleeing “terror-prone countries” - people who are most in need of safety and asylum - can find respite. 

The entire American Jewish community, indeed a majority of the American community, is made up of descendants of refugees and immigrants.  Our ancestors came to this country seeking safety, security and a better way of life for their families.  Following the biblical exhortation to welcome the stranger, the U.S. welcomed our families to these shores, many met by a statue whose very presence honors that legacy.

Syrian refugee camp

Right now, the global refugee crisis has reached immense proportions.  There are an estimated 65 million displaced people awaiting rescue, mostly in “terror-prone” and Muslim-majority countries.  What is not understood is that Muslims make up the overwhelming majority of victims of terrorism.  Yet these are the very people we will be turning away. 

As Jews who remember our ancestors’ experience and who look for inspiration to the Torah’s exhortation to “welcome the stranger,” we cannot be silent while our borders close.  The RRA and the RRC/Jewish Reconstructionist Communities strongly urge President Trump to reconsider his Executive Order and to keep open the doors to those most in need.  We also urge members of Congress to continue to fund the refugee resettlement and family reunification programs. 

We call on our rabbis, leaders and members of our communities to speak out on this issue and contact the White House and their elected representatives in Congress to urge support for refugees without regard to religion.

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

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

Hagar: The Immigrant Worker

This provocative Rosh Hashanah sermon draws parallels between Hagar, Sarah’s mistreated servant, and today’s immigrant workers.

Sermon
News and Blogs

Light Through The Cracks

Rabbi Deborah Waxman reflects on finding spiritual equilibrium in a time of shifting sands.

News
News and Blogs

Just For A Time Like This

On January 29, 2017, Reconstructionist rabbis and thinkers gathered for a day of learning and study on “Moving Forward in Changing Times.” The gathering offered a range of Jewish approaches to finding spiritual strength as an activist, how to have difficult conversations with those with opposing viewpoints and how to stay sane and grounded in what feels like an avalanche of political change. 

News
News and Blogs

Op-Ed on Trump Refugee Ban & Holocaust Remembrance Statement

In an op-ed published in Ha’aretz, President Trump’s failure to acknowledge Jewish Holocaust victims while banning entry of refugees spurs criticism. 

News
News and Blogs

Politics From The Pulpit: Speaking Publicly About Repairing The World Together

Reconstructionist Judaism takes seriously our obligation to act together to address injustice and suffering. To do so, Rabbi Elliot Tepperman argues, our congregations need to be places where we can safely engage in political and ethical agitation and disagreement, while avoiding mere irritation.

News

From Tzedaka to Restorative Finance: A Curriculum

This Reconstructionist curriculum on wealth inequality was written for the movement’s Tikkun Olam commission in the winter of 5777 (2016-2017).

Document

Tikkun Olam, Unpacked

What is tikkun olam? In this extended article, Rabbi Jeremy Schwartz digs deep into the sources, underpinnings, and implications of “world repair.”

Article