Joint statement on Executive Order barring many refugees and immigrants

  • January 31, 2017
    We, the undersigned Jewish Federations throughout the State of Connecticut, along
    with JFACT (Jewish Federations Association of Connecticut) and the Anti-Defamation
    League of Connecticut, oppose President Trump’s Executive Order barring many
    refugees and immigrants from entering the United States.
    President Trump’s Executive Order, issued on Friday, January 27, 2017, bans any
    refugees from entering the United States for 120 days; suspends indefinitely any Syrian
    refugee resettlement; and bans nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen for any reason for 90 days.
    Judaism instructs, repeatedly and unambiguously, that we are forbidden from
    oppressing the stranger. The Bible states no less than 36 separate times that we are
    obligated to care for the stranger in our society. Leviticus 19:34, as one example,
    teaches: “The strangers who reside with you shall be to you as your citizens; you shall
    love each one as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Both Jewish
    values and Jewish historical experience as immigrants and refugees mandate that we
    repudiate policies that demonize, ostracize, and leave stranded refugees and other
    vulnerable immigrants. We remember all too well the story of the St. Louis—of Jewish
    refugees fleeing Europe by ship on the eve of the Holocaust who were denied entry into
    the U.S. and sent back, many to their deaths. We cannot and will not stand idly by as
    today’s victims of war and terror are left helpless and isolated. Nor can we support
    policies that single out those who practice a certain religion—in this case Islam—for
    disproportionate treatment.
    While we encourage efforts to increase American security, this Executive Order
    threatens to do the opposite. The Executive Order likely will provide material to further
    incite radical Islamists against the United States and certainly has alienated the allies we need to defeat them.
    We therefore stand with the numerous national Jewish organizations—including the
    leadership of the Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative, and Orthodox Movements,
    the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the ADL, and HIAS—who have voiced strenuous
    concern about this Executive Order. We also specifically affirm our commitment to
    stand with our friends and neighbors in the Muslim community who are rightfully
    concerned with the implications this ban will have on their loved ones. America should
    continue to live up to its reputation as a safe haven for people fleeing religious
    persecution, civil war, terror, and other atrocities in their native countries and in need of refuge.
    Faced with the largest global refugee crisis of our time, the United States must continue
    to be a beacon of freedom, safety, and hope.
  • Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven
    Judy Alperin Diamondstein, CEO
    (203) 3872424 jdiamondstein@jewishnewhaven.org
    Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford
    Susannah MacNeil, Associate Vice President, Marketing and Communications
    (860)7276161 smacneil@jewishhartford.org
    Jewish Federation of Eastern Connecticut
    Romana Strochlitz Primus, President
    Romana.primus@gmail.com
    Jerry Fischer, CEO
    (860) 4428062 jfischer@jfec.com
    Jewish Federation of Greater Stamford, New Canaan, and Darien
    Rebekah Raz, VP, and Peter Lilienthal, Chair, JCRC
    (203) 3211373
    Jewish Federation of Western Connecticut
    Jade Stoltz, Executive Director
    (203) 2673177 Jstoltz@jfed.net
    Jewish Federations Association of Connecticut (JFACT)
    Sydney Perry, Interim Executive Director
    (203) 6050001 sperry@jfact.org
    Anti-Defamation League of Connecticut
    Andy Friedland, Assistant Regional Director
    (203) 7800211
    afriedland@adl.org
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