Rabbis from 46 states urge U.S. to accept refugees and not repeat mistakes from darker times

About a 1,000 American rabbis have given their signed consent to a letter requesting all elected officials to open the U.S. immigration door on refugees. The HIAS sponsored letter stated the Rabbis express alarm at the multitude of politicians express their opposition to welcoming refugees. The HIAS is an important Jewish body and deals primarily with refugee issues.

The content of the letter includes the information that from its founding days, the U.S. has provided protection and refuge to the most vulnerable people in the world. In a majority of cases, Jews made up the bulk of refugees. Whether they fled the pogroms which happened in Tzarist Russia, the brutality of the Holocaust or persecution in the erstwhile Soviet Union, or even Iran. The Jews discovered themselves to be safe in the U.S.

It is natural that the signees are alarmed to see such a large number of politicians voicing their opposition when welcoming the refugees.

Rabbis from 46 states signed in their support in the letter. Many of them were from Washington DC. The shortened version of this letter and the complete list of those who signed it will appear in Politico.

1000 Rabbis Support Refugees 12/4/2015

The letter continues to say that the horrifying Beirut and Paris attacks are cited as the prime reasons to bar entry to those individuals who are victims of terror themselves. The script says further that as Jewish leaders, they perceive this standpoint as a repeat of a darker period in history. The letter then reminds the readers about the Louis ship being turned away by the U.S. in 1939. About 900 Jews were forced to return to Europe, where many were subsequently slaughtered by Nazis. It said in 1939, the U.S. was unable to discern any difference between the enemy and the victims of the enemy. The letter asks the U.S. not to repeat the same mistake.

In this letter, the rabbis urge officials to provide weight to legislation which will resettle the refugees.  It also oppose any action which would effectively or actually stop any funding restrictions for halting the resettlement for any refugee groups.

The letter had the support of a number of influential American rabbis, including Joseph Telushkin, the bestselling author David Ellenson of the New York based Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and Sharon Brous of IKAR, a Jewish organization, was also a signee.

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