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Rabbinical Association in the Heart of NJ statement on executive order
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Rabbinical Association in the Heart of NJ statement on executive order

On Friday, Jan. 27, the world observed the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. In 2005 the United Nations declared that this date should be observed to remember the horrors of the Shoah (the Holocaust). The declaration’s purpose was to keep the world from ever forgetting what happens when we target groups of people. In 2008, then U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon argued, “The International Day in memory of the victims of the Holocaust is thus a day on which we must reassert our commitment to human rights.” On this very same date on the calendar, President Donald Trump issued an executive order banning immigrants from seven Muslim majority nations from entering or returning to the United States. While we recognize the responsibility of our government to protect our homeland from terrorism, we declare with moral certainty that this is not the way. Our nation is grounded on the premise that one is innocent until proven guilty and that each person has the inalienable right to liberty and justice. This order roots in fear mongering, and especially, on this day, displays the ultimate of disregard for the value of human rights.

Torah demands that we love our neighbors as we want to be loved. Our tradition teaches that even in standing up for our own rights, we must equally stand for the rights of our neighbor. There can be no peace for one, where there is strife with one another. Thomas Jefferson wrote that the rights to dignity are inalienable. The executive order demeans the teachings of our faith and of our nation’s founding intentions. We stand with each other, irrespective of race, religion, or national origin to affirm that the blessings of love and compassion that build a strong nation must triumph over the fears that drive us from each other and destroy our union. 

We must all pledge to stand and be heard in the face of bigotry and hate. We must pledge to call people into account for the hate speech and insensitivity that perpetuates the fear and madness. As rabbis, we believe with perfect faith that the coming of peace to this world depends on our commitment to dignify and cherish each other. We can accept nothing less and still call ourselves people of faith.

Rabbi Ari Saks, president
Rabbi David Vaisberg, vice president
Rabbi Bryan Kinzbrunner, secretary
Rabbi Esther Reed – exec. member at large
Rabbi Philip Bazeley
Rabbi Eli Garfinkel
Rabbi Dov Goldberg
Rabbi Marc Kline
Rabbi Laurence Malinger
Rabbi Eliot Malomet
Rabbi Bennett Miller
Rabbi Joel Mishkin
Rabbi Kerry Olitzky
Rabbi Melinda Panken
Rabbi Michael Pont
Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg
Rabbi Eric Rosin
Rabbi Aaron Schonbrun
Rabbi Ellie Shemtov 
Rabbi Shira Stern
Rabbi Don Weber
Rabbi Robert Wolkoff
Rabbi Gerald Zelizer

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