An open letter from Canadian rabbis concerning our American neighbours

Chain link fence (Pexels photo)


As Jews  — members of a people who have experienced the scourge of demonization and the denial of our humanity —  we have a moral and religious obligation to speak up when we bear witness to the oppression of the stranger.

As we are reminded on 36 distinct occasions in our Torah, we bear a special responsibility to the stranger. We are forbidden from oppressing the stranger and must instead love the stranger, for we too were strangers. All people, at some point in their lives, are strangers. Today, we remind our fellow Jews of that existential reality and of the precarious nature of our own safety.

As rabbis serving throughout Canada, we are writing to express our shock and outrage at the inhumane treatment of migrant families at the US border.  We are haunted by images of children, including toddlers, being separated from their parents and held in detention centers. We hope that pursuant to the executive order signed in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday (June 20, 2018), sincere and efficient action will be taken to reunite those families already separated and to prevent this cruel outrage from continuing.

We refuse to accept as normal the systematic separation of families. We refuse to accept as normal the scapegoating an entire class of people or ethnicity.  We call on all compassionate-minded people to demand that every human being on earth is treated with dignity and to exemplify, in their own political and personal  conduct, the love and respect due to all of G-d’s creations.

With prayers for comfort and safety for all,

Rabbi Rena Arshinoff
Rabbi Martin Berman
Rabbi Elizabeth Bolton
Rabbi Catharine Clark
Rabbi Jordan D. Cohen
Rabbi Joshua Corber
Rabbi Boris Dolin
Rabbi Eva Goldfinger
Rabbi Jennifer Gorman
Rabbi Emma Gottlieb
Rabbi Ellen Greenspan
Rabbi Lisa Grushcow
Rabbi Geoffrey Haber
Rabbi Denise Handlarski
Rabbi Laura Duhan Kaplan
Rabbi Matthew Kaufman
Rabbi Yakov Kerzner
Rabbi Leigh Lerner
Rabbi Aaron Levy
Rabbi Leslie P. Lipson
Rabbi Miriam Margles
Rabbi David Mivasair
Rabbi S. Robert Morais
Rabbi Lionel E. Moses
Rabbi Erin Polansky
Rabbi Jonah Rank
Rabbi Kliel Rose
Rabbi Yossi Sapirman
Rabbi Shalom Schachter
Rabbi Philip Scheim
Rabbi Susan Shamash
Rabbinical student Devon Spier
Rabbi Yael Splansky
Rabbi Steven Schwartzman
Rabbi Karen Soria
Rabbi Adam Stein
Rabbi Lucia Pizarro Wehlen
Rabbi Cory Weiss
Rabbi Raysh Weiss
Rabbi Stephen Wise