18 rabbis were arrested protesting outside Trump Hotel.

Guests and visitors at the Trump International Hotel in New York witnessed 18 rabbis being arrested by the New York Police Department (NYPD) on Monday night. The arrested rabbis had earlier gathered at the venue as participants in a T’ruah hosted conference. T’ruah is the human rights group of the rabbis. The rabbis were arrested for obstruction of traffic while protesting Trump’s Muslim refugee ban from Muslim majority countries. The T’ruah Rabbis are a liberal Jewish gathering which fiercely opposes the anti-refugee order issued by the American President.

The mood of the group is voiced by Rabbi Rachel Gartner, the co-chairperson of T’ruah. She said, “Tradition teaches us to be kind to the plight of refugees.” And gave reference of the World War II Jewish refugee ship, the St. Louis. This ship was sent back to Europe by the United States in 1939. “We cannot tolerate the executive order that comes from the administration. It’s very painful for us. It’s personal. We remember the St. Louis. It’s eerily reminiscent and it strikes us to our core.” Rabbi Gartner said.

About 200 protesters walked approximately 30 blocks to Trump International Hotel located at Central Park West and W. 59th Street. Around 24 members of the protesting group did a civil disobedience act and sat on the street. They sang protest songs in Hebrew and linked arms while blocking traffic.

T’ruah’s Executive Director, Rabbi Jill Jacobs, told the media they remember history-particularly the part when the United States closed its borders in 1924. The result was a catastrophic one, with the Holocaust decimating a large number of Jews in Europe. She added, the language used at that time is being used again. The aim is the same: stopping Jewish refugees then and now Muslims. Police barricaded the crowd, with the latter chanting that refugees are welcome to the United States. Many protesters held signs saying that they were once refugees as well.  The police first warned them before making arrests. Even the rabbis were handcuffed with prayer shawls continuing to be draped over shoulders.

Many T’ruah members managed to take photos from inside police van. The inside photos clearly showed a number of clergy members wearing skullcaps and also pussy hats. The latter fashion came into public view after they were worn during Women’s March following Trump's presidential inauguration.


Follow the Conversation on Twitter