From Haaretz, 10/9/17
Claiming that the president’s “anti-welcome” policies are antithetical to Jewish and American values, two dozen rabbis – men and women covered in prayer shawls – walked Monday morning from Central Park to Trump Tower, widely known as White House North. Once in front of the building, they quickly stretched out a small, symbolic sukkah and topped it with a wooden cover as required by tradition.
“Welcoming guests is an integral part of the holiday of Sukkot,” said Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, a 1,800-member network of rabbis and cantors.
“President Trump’s executive orders and other policies break up families, turn refugees away from our shores – the very opposite of the sense of welcome that has defined our country’s history.”
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As the festival of Sukkot draws to a close, I wanted to highlight the way that the practice of hospitality which is central to its observance extends beyond the walls of our Sukkot. Panim Hadashot-New Faces’ mission is to revitalize Shabbat and other forms of Jewish hospitality. Our commitment to this act of lovingkindness also influences the way we regard the debate over immigration policies in the US. Jews have benefited enormously from this country’s immigration laws in the past. We also saw the calamity when immigration laws became too restrictive. As leader of Panim Hadashot, I strenuously object to the emergent policies of this administration. I hope that the festival of Sukkot will help us to renew our resistance to these policies and to support approaches that are more generous and fair minded.
As we linger in the Sukkah over Shemini Atzeret, which begins this evening, may we reflect on ways we can add our voice to the advocates of decent and more immigration policies and to those working to secure the ability of DACA recipients to remain in the US without fear. Hag Sameah,
Rabbi Dov Gartenberg