Statement Opposing President Trump's Executive Order Regarding Refugees

The Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven condemns 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.

The Executive Order purports to make America safer by preventing terrorist attacks. While we encourage efforts to increase American security, this Executive Order is likely to do the opposite. It does nothing to enhance American security: according to the Global Terrorism Database, no American has ever been killed in a terrorist attack in the U.S. by a national from one of the seven banned countries. Conversely, the countries from which terrorists have attacked the U.S., such as Saudi Arabia, were not banned. What this Executive Order does accomplish, however, is provide material to further incite radical Islamists against the United States and alienate the allies we need to defeat them.

We therefore stand with the numerous national Jewish organizations—including the leadership of the Reform, Reconstructionist, and Conservative Movements, members of the Orthodox community, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, and HIAS—who have voiced strenuous opposition to 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 those suffering atrocities in their native countries and in need of refuge.

We encourage those who would like to take action to do so. One local, impactful way to do so is to participate in JCARR, the Jewish Community Alliance for Refugee Resettlement. In partnership with Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS), JCARR is a partnership of five synagogues in greater New Haven working to resettle refugee families.  Financial contributions can be made online at To make contributions of goods and services, or to volunteer your time, please sign up to receive JCARR updates by sending an email to Additionally, those who are interested can join with HIAS’ campaign to click here to contact state and federal representatives to tell them that you oppose President Trump’s Executive Order.

Faced with the largest refugee crisis of our time, the United States must continue to be a beacon of freedom, safety, and hope.


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