Getting 10 rabbis to agree on anything is a challenge. Having 100 rabbis come to an agreement is uncommon. But having nearly 2,000 rabbis from all denominational backgrounds agree about something is nearly unbelievable. Yet that is exactly what has happened over the last several weeks.
In the aftermath of the administration’s executive order to bar immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries, the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society (HIAS) sent an appeal to rabbis to sign a letter in support of refugees. I did not hesitate to endorse this letter.
As one of the nearly 2,000 signers of the Rabbinic Letter in Support of Refugees, I wish to affirm that the Jewish community, grounded in our values and history, stands firmly for welcoming refugees. It has never been a more important time to stand with the most vulnerable.
The issue of refugees is just one of many actions taken by the president in the last three weeks. Over this time, I have had numerous conversations with members of Temple about their feelings about what is transpiring in our country. The overarching emotions I have heard are fear, anguish, despair, and anger. I also have heard from some who express agreement with the administration’s actions.
Back in November, following the election, we created an opportunity for members of the congregation to share their responses with one another. I believe it is incredibly important that we do so again.
Ronnie Petersohn is taking the lead in organizing a community conversation on Sunday morning, February 19. It is scheduled from 9:30am to 11:30am. As always, the intent is to create a safe, trusting environment in which every person’s opinion is honored and our mutual respect will foster understanding. We will discuss not only our personal thoughts and feelings but also address how we might respond as a congregation to the challenges of our time.