WASHINGTON (RNS) In the midst of the Jewish holiday season, more than 1,200 rabbis and cantors have urged Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

“We thought it was a particularly good time to speak out as rabbis and cantors on this issue that really speaks to us as Americans and as Jews,” said Barbara Weinstein, associate director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Reform movement’s Washington office that coordinated the effort.

“For centuries, Jews were guests in others’ lands and not always treated well.”

Rabbis and cantors from the Reform, Conservative, Orthodox and Reconstructionist streams of American Judaism made their appeal in a letter issued Sept. 12.

The rabbis called for legislation to create a clear path to citizenship, reunite separated families, further humane border protection, open legal opportunities for immigrant workers and create avenues for refugees and asylum seekers.

According to a survey released last March by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brooking Institution, two-thirds of U.S. Jews support allowing immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally to become citizens after meeting certain requirements. Just 13 percent say illegal immigrants should be deported.

The letter was issued the day before the start of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, and just days before Sukkot, the Jewish harvest festival that commemorates the 40 years the Israelites dwelt in the wilderness after their exodus from Egypt.

The letter described Jewish history of having “over millennia continuously been expelled, been rejected, been freed and been welcomed,” portraying immigration reform as a reflection of Jewish values.

Weinstein said Jewish leaders had noticed slowed momentum on immigration reform. During Yom Kippur, a time for introspection, these leaders decided to make immigration reform a priority for the coming year.

“High Holy Days are the prime moment where we reflect on the year past and think about how we want to do better in the year to come,” Weinstein said. “For a long time now our immigration system has been broken and as we reflect on that we see we are in a unique moment where it needs to be fixed.”

Weinstein said the push to lawmakers is one part of a broader effort on the part of the American Jewish community to push for immigration reform, including rabbis reaching members across the country and speaking individually with representatives in Congress.


  1. These rabbis are soooo compasionate. Why then, do these rabbis support Israels deportation and FORCED birth contol of BLACK jews from Africans countries, also deportation of Palestinians?

  2. Israel has the strictest immigration laws in the world. Up to 17 years in prision, and deportation without trial.

    Love is sending people down the path of righteousness; rewarding illegal/dishonest behavior is not love. Encouraging more illegal immigration with amnesty leads people to commit id theft, social security fraud, and perjury (i-9). By supporting amnesty the Rabbi’s are encouraging people to break Gods commandments.

    • These rabbis are complete religous phonies and hypocrites. Israel would never let in hordes of 3 rd world peasant Mexicans because rabbi knows it would harm the state of Israel….why are rabbis patriotic for Israel, but not patriotic for the US?

      • Well, in case you didn’t notice, there aren’t a lot of Mexicans clamoring to go to Israel, because there’s an ocean between the two countries. America’s a hop, skip, and a jump away.

        • Tom: you completely missed my point…these good ole rabbis would never advocate massive numbers of poor people from Africa or Egypt or anywhere else; in fact these “compassionate” rabbis support deportation and forced sterilization of BLACK jews from Africa and poor people from anywhere else in the world, thats why I have to question their patriotism for the US…Again, these rabbi are hypocrites and phonies.

  3. What would you see YOURSELF AS if you were looking thru the Eyes of Almighty GOD?

    How you Treat others is how God TREATS You.
    How you Forgive others is how God FORGIVES You.
    How you See others is how God SEE’s You.

    When you show Empathy for the plight of another HUMAN BEING, God takes empathy in YOUR PLIGHT.

    When others slight you and you ignore the call to Vengeance that burns inside, God Erases all memory of your failures towards him.


    The way You Judge other HUMANS is HOW GOD Judges You.

    All Humans are EQUAL, ALL Humans are created and are the same in Almighty GODS VISION.

    What You wish for the other is what GOD Gives YOU.

    Happiness keeps You Sweet,
    Trials keep You Strong,
    Sorrows keep You Human,
    Life keeps You Humble,
    Success keeps You Glowing ,
    But Only God keeps You Going.

    In the Old Testament, the Lord commands:

    “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself … ” (Leviticus 19:33-34).

    The biblical word “ger” for the foreigners in our midst occurs an astounding 92 times in the Hebrew scriptures, with the consistent instruction to protect them.

    In the New Testament, the stranger, and all who are vulnerable, are at the very heart of the Gospel. In the book of Matthew, Jesus offers a vision in which caring for them is the defining mark of God’s kingdom:

    “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me” (Matthew 25:35-36).



    • Its really nice to quote the Bible Archie, but are YOU willing to pay the 19 TRILLION dollars to give AMNESTY to law breaking illegal aliens, who are mostly illiterate, unskilled, moochers and leeches from Mexico, who are looking for handouts and freebies and welfare? You Archie, the great compassionate one, YOU PAY FOR AMNESTY! The majority of Americans DONT want to pay $$ to illegal alien moochers.

      • Briann, show me the statistics that prove your point on how MOST immigrants are “illiterate, unskilled, mooches, and leeches from Mexico.” Did you know that 7.7 million immigrants are employed in the United States (2012)? IMMIGRANTS NEED TO WORK IN ORDER TO SUCCEED, like every other human being on this earth. Did you know 87% of polled undocumented immigrants would take English classes as part of legalizing their immigration status? IMMIGRANTS WANT TO LEARN ENGLISH, like every other human being who is learning English wanting to improve. I bet you didn’t know these statistics, that is why you criticize so easily with no care. You Briann, the great pococurante, would YOU pay for amnesty if you had all the money in the world? Knowing your attitude towards immigrants, I doubt it! Rethink and reflect on what Archie quoted, hopefully you find some sense of gratitude and compassion.

        • Aurora, it is quite obvious, the typical illegal is Mexican, illiterate,uneducated, and dirt poor since Mexico is a dirt poor country. Please read the latest reports from the Heritage Foundation. by Dr. Robert Rector which is the most comprehensive study thus far. You will find for every 11 million illegals given amnesty it will cost 6.3 trillion dollars, if 33 million get awarded,then cost is 19 trillion dollars. These illegals TAKE $3 in govt freebies for every $1 they earn. The average education is 3rd grade and they will depress wages for the American worker.

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