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1,500+ Rabbis Sign National Letter Calling for Welcoming Refugees

As questions loom over whether the Trump administration will alter or restrict the federal refugee program, rabbis across the country are urging elected officials to maintain, and strengthen, the current system. Today, HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees, released a letter signed by more than 1,500* rabbis in support of welcoming refugees.

The letter reads in part, “Jewish history bears witness to the critical choice facing our country: whether to rescue those in need or to construct barriers to keep them out. Jews have seen America at its best, and we know what it looks like for our country to provide the chance at a new beginning.”

“With more people forced to flee their homes than at any time since World War II, humanity is in a very dark place right now,” said HIAS CEO and President Mark Hetfield. “But over 1,500 rabbis from every major movement of Judaism and nearly every state have come together to fight this darkness with light, to let refugees know that we welcome them. With so many Jewish spiritual leaders stepping up and speaking out for refugees, we at HIAS are honored and inspired to work on behalf of the American Jewish community."

As part of the growing movement in the American Jewish community to support refugees, more than 250 congregations across the nation are taking action to raise awareness, volunteer, and provide direct assistance to refugees through the HIAS Welcome Campaign. Launched in May 2015, the campaign has evolved into a nationwide grassroots initiative in response to the global refugee crisis.

HIAS Vice President of Community Engagement Rabbi Jennie Rosenn applauded faith leaders and congregations for helping to shine a spotlight on the refugee crisis. She commented, “The leaders of our community have joined together to demonstrate the American Jewish community’s steadfast commitment to the safety and dignity of refugees. Jewish tradition teaches that every person is created in the image of God, and that we should welcome the stranger with respect and compassion. The outpouring of support from more than 1,500 rabbis, working alongside other faith and non-sectarian partners to stand up for refugees, comes at a critical moment. Compelled by our community’s own history as a refugee people, rabbis from across the country are raising their voices in support of the U.S. legacy of welcome.”

The full text of the letter can be found, and signed by rabbis, at www.hias.org/1500rabbis

*Note: 1,925 signers as of 1/31/17.

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Jewish Values and History