Yearning to Breathe Free

January 27, 2017
By Avi Rose

As we had feared, today the President took actions to bar the entry of those seeking refuge in the United States. He has slammed the door shut. It is a profoundly sad day for refugees and for those of us who embrace our mandate to “welcome the stranger.”

This action is being taken at a moment when there are more displaced refugees in the world than at any time since the end of World War II. It is a moment that cries out for boldness and compassion, a time to remember our own history and act on our fundamental values. Instead, our country has taken a giant step backward from our legacy of providing a safe haven for people fleeing persecution, genocide, and terror.

We are particularly appalled that this action is taking place on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The International Refugee Convention was forged out of the ashes of World War II, intended to assure the basic right of sanctuary for people fleeing for their lives. The President has dishonored this day and scorned the lessons of history.

We at JFCS East Bay join with 1,700 rabbis who recently signed a letter expressing their support for maintaining and strengthening the U.S. refugee program. We are horrified by today’s executive action and will oppose it staunchly.

JFCS East Bay will stand ready to welcome refugees who are able to gain entry to our country, whenever that may happen. We will continue to support those refugees who are already here, consoling those who had hoped to reunite with family members languishing in camps or elsewhere. And we will continue to inform you, our community, of developments as they unfold, offering you opportunities to join us in advocating for policies that reflect our community’s values.

For now, we are asking people to call their Senators and Representative to register your continued support for welcoming refugees. Please call the main Congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121. You will need to call three times to be connected with your two Senators and one Representative.

Today is a major setback, but we are in this for the long haul. We are grateful to be part of a community that shares our pain and our determination. Thank you for continuing to be here with us, with those we have welcomed, and with all those we still hope to welcome in the future.




Avi Rose
Executive Director