Bradley University Hillel condemns in the strongest of terms President Trump’s Executive Orders that would restrict entry for refugees from predominantly Muslim countries, halt federal funding for “sanctuary cities” that protect vulnerable undocumented human beings, and expand detention for immigrants and asylum-seekers.
This past Friday, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, President Trump did violence to the ideals of America when he created unjustifiable new obstacles in the path of refugees and immigrants seeking a better life. The terrorist threat attributed to refugees is a cruel distracting fiction that goes against the core of both American and Jewish values, especially when viewed against the actual incidence of mass violence committed with chilling frequency — in schools, churches, shopping malls and other venues — against Americans by native-born Americans, click here to read more.
As Jews, we are all too familiar with what happens when a nationalist government decides to demonize a minority group in order to push its own hateful agenda. The central command of our holy Torah—repeated more times than any other commandment in the Bible — is to “not oppress the stranger…for we were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
And we were strangers. We were strangers in Egypt, in Christian Spain, in Nazi Europe, and nearly everywhere we have lived for most of the last 2600 years. It was just a few decades ago when Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazi-led genocide in Christian Europe sought shelter in the United States, with many sent back to their deaths on the very boats they had dreamed of being vessels of deliverance.
The world was not created for us, Torah teaches; instead we were created for the world. In a world of brokenness, we are commanded to work with the Divine; we are here to continue the work of creation. Our task — our purpose — is to find the broken shards wherever they may lie, to lift them up, and to bring forth the holy-sparks of light trapped within them.
And so we call on all Americans of conscience, no matter who you voted for, to stand with the Muslim-American community, and all minority communities, during this hour of rising darkness and to make it clear to our families, our friends, our neighbors, and our elected officials, that we will not tolerate bigotry in our language nor in our laws;
We call on President Trump to immediately rescind these hateful and un-American Executive Orders and begin to repair the damage to the ideals of America — and to human lives — that has already been done;
And we call in particular on our own community of Jewish Americans, who have been raised on a creed of “never again,” to stand up now — and we call on our community of students and faculty at Bradley University to join us.
Our grandchildren’s history books will show pictures of this moment. We must ask ourselves now, “Which side of history will we be on?”
Ryan Lutker — Hillel representative
Sophomore elementary education major