There are times when people of good conscience must hold true to ideological values. Recent political activities led to a release of statements by the Conservative movement of Judaism supporting the rights of immigrants. The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the Rabbinical Assembly (RA), and the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) strongly advocate that we reject targeting of individuals based on religion. The JTS reminds us of our obligation as Jews by promoting these words from the book of Exodus: “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the Land of Egypt.” (Exodus 22:20). They continue with historical and Talmudic knowledge that indicates “the Torah admonishes us no fewer than 36 times to treat those who are foreign born with fairness and compassion. No other commandment is repeated so often.”
Every congregant of Brith Shalom is a descendent from immigrants, many of whom traveled to this great land in hopes of making a better life; a life free from oppression and a life filled with hope where their dreams could soar. Let us never forget our own heritage, and always strive to give the same gift of freedom to all those seeking sanctuary.
Jeff Actor, CBS President
“Our religious tradition repeatedly forbids us from oppressing the stranger. For instance, Leviticus 19:34 commands us, '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.' And Exodus 22:21, 'And you shall not wrong a stranger, neither shall you oppress them; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.'” Congregation Adas Israel, Washington, DC