By the Montana Association of Rabbis

The Montana Association of Rabbis, consisting of rabbis from Montana’s largest Jewish communities based in Bozeman, Missoula, and the Flathead Valley, responds to President Trump’s Executive Order banning immigrants from Muslim majority nations in the strongest language possible:

We call on President Trump to rethink and rescind his executive order and we call upon Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines to oppose the executive order in any lawful way possible.

MAOR stands with our neighbors, stands with those who are different, stands with those who are from war-torn countries, suffering religious persecution and seeking refuge in our country. We stand with immigrants and refugees to defend their rights, to defend our country’s founding principles, and to fulfill the holy and moral imperative to love the stranger as we would love our very own.

We offer ourselves as partners to other faith leaders and our local politicians across the great state of Montana. As Nelson Mandela said, “To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity”. Those of us in the faith-based community must help all to realize the fullness of their humanity. Those in the political community must remove impediments to that sacred mission.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.” (US Declaration of Independence) “When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not wrong him. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Leviticus 19:33-34)

Most of us are descendants of immigrants who came to the United States to seek a better life. Many of us are descendants of the unwilling victims of the slave trade, and some of us are indigenous peoples of this land for whom everyone else are immigrants. No matter where our ancestors come from, Jews have learned throughout history the danger of banning peoples who are labeled “foreign”, “dangerous”, “invaders” or “usurpers”. We know the consequences of being named the “other.” Even this year, here in Montana, we have been targeted as the “other” by anti-Semites. We know.

It is because of this experience, because of the foundational documents of our country, because of the teachings in the Hebrew Bible that give us clear guidance, we commit ourselves to working to guarantee the safety of our communities and guarantee that our nation continues to live up to its highest principles. We believe that to protect ourselves we must protect others, to care for ourselves we must care for others, we must love our neighbor as we would love ourselves.

The Montana Association of Rabbis (MAOR) is a rabbinic association that articulates a rabbinic voice within and for the State of Montana. MAOR members serve Montana’s largest Jewish communities based in Bozeman, Missoula, and the Flathead Valley, extending to surrounding communities including Helena, Livingston, Belgrade, Boulder, and the Bitterroot Valley.  We speak and act on matters that impact Jewish values.