Our Imperative to Welcome the Stranger

San Francisco, CA – Our community is one of deeply held Jewish values, of patriotic faith in American democracy, of compassion toward our neighbors and the proverbial "others" among us. These values have been seriously challenged by President Trump's recent executive order targeting refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations.

We are a nation founded on the principle of religious freedom. And we are a nation of immigrants that has welcomed refugees and those fleeing hardship in hopes of finding safety, freedom, and opportunity.

National security is critical to all Americans, but we must not forget our laws and values in its name. Our community is deeply concerned by the executive order closing the nation's borders, even if only temporarily, to refugees seeking asylum. Whatever the motivations for the order, it runs counter to our proud immigrant history, and to our Jewish values. Leviticus instructs us that, "The stranger who sojourns with you shall be as a native from among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt." This is one of the foundations of Jewish community and belief.

As Jews, we are particularly aware of the dangers of imposing religious tests. We came here as immigrants and refugees and know well the consequences of shunning those who seek to escape persecution. And, as a people committed to tikkun olam (repairing the world) and the calling of hachnasat orchim (welcoming the stranger), we are compelled to speak up for those who may be scapegoated or mistreated due to xenophobia, prejudice, fear, or misunderstanding.

Our community is defined by a belief in diversity, inclusion, and human dignity. Our diversity is our strength as a community and as a nation.

Please also read the JCRC overview of our community's response and, if you would like to take action, we recommend the following campaigns:

Jewish Community Relations Council

Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society

In solidarity,

Danny Grossman                                            Richard Fiedotin
Chief Executive Officer                                   Board Chair
Jewish Community Federation                       Jewish Community Federation
and Endowment Fund                                     and Endowment Fund

 Abby Porth                                                     Hadara Stanton
Executive Director                                           Board President
Jewish Community Relations Council             Jewish Community Relations Council

The Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund connects people of all ages, backgrounds, and perspectives to the power of the Jewish community to improve the world. We partner with donors, organizations, and foundations to address pressing issues facing our community, and develop innovative strategies that result in deep and lasting impact locally, in Israel, and around the world. Learn more at www.jewishfed.org.

For immediate release

January 31, 2017