(Minority Whip Senator Dick Durbin cites HIAS National Rabbinic Letter on Senate Floor, January 30, 2017.)
Just days before President Trump’s inauguration, more than 1,500 rabbis from across the United States joined together to express support for welcoming refugees to this country, no matter their religion or ethnicity.
Since then, more than 400 additional rabbis have signed their names to send a powerful message to elected officials to keep America’s doors open to refugees, bringing the total to nearly 2,000. Minority Whip Senator Dick Durbin (IL-D) mentioned the letter while on the Senate floor on Monday, January 30, as he made impassioned remarks stating his firm opposition to the executive order.
Many of the new names were added in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s executive order issued on Friday, January 27—International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The National Rabbinic Letter, signed by rabbis in nearly every state and the District of Columbia, 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 so many Jewish spiritual leaders stepping up and speaking out for refugees, we at HIAS are humbled and inspired by the response of the American Jewish community," HIAS CEO and President Mark Hetfield said when letter was released.
The full text of the letter and complete list of signers can be found at www.hias.org/2000rabbis.