American rabbis build protest sukka outside Trump Tower

October 10, 2017 09:04

The executive director of T’ruah, Rabbi Jill Jacobs, constructed the sukka in opposition to the President's cap on refugees.

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Rabbi Rachel Kahn Troster, T’ruah’s director of programs (left) and Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Truah’s execu

Rabbi Rachel Kahn Troster, T’ruah’s director of programs (left) and Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Truah’s executive director (right) marching along 5th Avenue.. (photo credit: CHRISTOPHER PARKS)

Two dozen rabbis associated with T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, erected a sukka outside New York’s Trump Tower this week to protest US President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

Rabbi Jill Jacobs, the executive director of T’ruah, constructed the sukka outside the Fifth Avenue tower to call for a more welcoming American policy toward refugees and migrants.

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“What makes America strong is the diverse group of people who come here seeking refuge and who build families and communities here. President Trump’s anti-immigration policies, including his unacceptable plan to trade acceptance of DACA [so-called ‘dreamer’] recipients for keeping other immigrants and refugees out, destroys the fabric of America without making any of us safer,” Jacobs said.

It is customary for Jews to welcome visitors in their sukka during the weeklong Sukkot holiday.

Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon of B’nai Jeshurun, who immigrated to the United States from Argentina, shares his family’s story and the importance of welcoming and protecting refugees.

The participating rabbis included Rabbi Rachel Grant Meyer, education director of HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees.

Many of the rabbis who participated were immigrants to the United States.

They erected signs that read, “My father was a Syrian refugee” (Deuteronomy 26:5) and, “You shall love the immigrant” (Deuteronomy 10:19).

“The sukka reminds us of our shared vulnerability,” said Rabbi José Rolando Matalon of Manhattan’s B’nai Jeshurun synagogue, who was born in Buenos Aires.

“Our strength as a society is not measured only by economic factors and certainly not by how strong our buildings are or how tall our walls or how many weapons we have. Our strength as a country is in our faith, our compassion, our hospitality and our commitment to righteousness.

“Closing our hearts to immigrants and refugees will not strength us but weaken us as a nation.”

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