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Statement on President Trump’s Executive Order Concerning Refugees

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.

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