Reform Jewish Leader Engages in Civil Disobedience in Support of Dreamers

For Immediate Release
January 17, 2018

Reform Jewish Leader Engages in Civil Disobedience in Support of Dreamers

WASHINGTON – Today, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism joined Bend the Arc Jewish Action, the Anti-Defamation League, T'ruah and other Jewish organizations in an act of civil disobedience in the Russell Senate Office Building to demand immediate passage of the Dream Act, bipartisan legislation that will protect nearly 800,000 immigrant youth from imminent deportation. Rabbi Pesner and other Jewish leaders from across the country were arrested by Capitol Police while protesting in support of Dreamers. 

Over 600 Reform Jewish rabbis and cantors, including 139 from New York state, also delivered an open letter to Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, urging him to use the power of his position to demand the passage of the Dream Act. The full text of the letter to Senator Schumer can be found here

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, released the following statement: 

"We demand that Congress act immediately to ensure that the Dreamers have a secure future in the United States. The futures of nearly 800,000 young people hang in the balance and we refuse to accept further delay on a legislative solution.

“This is no time for business as usual. In the Torah, we are called 36 different ways to love the stranger, the orphan, and the widow. We were strangers in the land of Egypt, and know what it means to be turned away from places we thought of as home. Dreamers are Americans in most ways that matter. The United States is the only home many of them have known. They are members of our communities who deserve nothing less than a secure future and the ability to continue to contribute to this nation.

“Reform Jews across the United States have called their Senators and Representatives, written to the White House, visited Congress, and rallied in the streets. Today, we say there is no more time to waste. We insist that Dreamers be recognized as the Americans that they are."


The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit for more.