Immigration and Refugees

In response to recent developments concerning immigration, our clergy and President, David M. Astrove, have reached out to our partners in the Muslim community to express our support.

Letter to Our Partners in the Muslim Community

In our roles as Rabbis and Cantors of Washington Hebrew Congregation and as individuals who love humanity and are teachers of our sacred texts, we feel moved to share what is in our hearts and in the hearts of our community.

We stand in solidarity with you at this difficult time. We are pained by the banning of refugees from several majority-Muslim countries. Our Torah instructs us no fewer than 36 times, “Welcome the stranger for you were once strangers in the land of Egypt.” We know firsthand the plight of the stranger – many of our own families were once refugees who took shelter in America’s open arms. We pray for the women, men, children, and orphans who may be barred from the safety and opportunity we know America provides. We know too well, as victims of the Holocaust, the result of closed borders. We abhor the response to those who need America’s help now more than ever.

We will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our Muslim brothers and sisters on this critical issue. We will find the way to live our religious obligation to welcome the stranger. Just as we have prayed together, studied together, fed the homeless, and clothed the naked together, so too will we stand with you to ensure that the words on the base of the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” — America’s promise to the world — are not denied.