Reform Jewish Leader Opposes Expected Discriminatory Executive Order on Refugees and Entry to the United States

For Immediate Release
January 25, 2017

Contact: Max Rosenblum or Graham Roth
202.387.2800 |

Press Release from the Religious Action Center

WASHINGTON – In response to President Trump’s expected executive order that will severely restrict refugee resettlement, and broadly bar entry to the United States from several majority-Muslim countries, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, Central Conference of American Rabbis and wider Reform Movement:  

The expected executive order defies the best American tradition of being a place of refuge for those fleeing persecution. As Jews, we recognize the danger in any action that singles out people based on their religious beliefs. If the order is issued as anticipated, it is deeply troubling, rooted in exclusion and discrimination, and echoes the most shameful parts of our history. 

Facing the largest refugee crisis in recent history, the United States must remain a beacon of safe haven and welcome. Jewish tradition teaches “and each shall sit under their vine and fig tree, and none shall make them afraid” (Micah 4:4). Ensuring our security and fulfilling our highest aspirations as a nation rooted in compassion and committed to religious freedom are not mutually exclusive. Policies such as those promulgated by President Trump in this expected executive order unjustly and falsely create the impression that all Muslims pose a security threat. Attacks on one faith are attacks on all faiths, and we stand with our Muslim friends and allies in rejecting such egregious suggestions. 

We call on President Trump to refrain from issuing this executive order, on Congress to ensure robust refugee resettlement, and call on all Americans to protect the fundamental principle of religious freedom upon which our country was founded.


The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose nearly 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.