On Rabbis and Immigration (Guest Musing)

I am delighted to share my Musing platform with Rabbi Yaakov Rosenblatt. You will soon hear more about Rabbi Rosenblatt who we are delighted to welcome as director of the American Alliance of Jews and Christians (AAJC). He shares our passion for and commitment to an America firmly based on Judeo-Christian values. Like us, he is deeply troubled when Judaism is misrepresented as modern liberalism. He was moved to compose the following piece.

On Monday, February 6, some 200 rabbis and rabbinical students protested outside Trump International Hotel in Manhattan.   19 of them blocked traffic and were arrested for disorderly conduct.  The group was protesting President Trump’s executive order placing a 90-day hold on immigration from seven countries which lack adequate security programs to vet the peaceful nature of visa holders: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.

Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of Teru’ah, the left-wing rabbinical group that organized the protest, said it was meant to show that many Jews oppose the ban.

“We remember our history, and we remember that the border of this country closed to us in 1924, with very catastrophic consequences during the Holocaust.  We know that some of the language that’s being used now to stop the Muslims from coming is the same language that was used to stop Jewish refugees from coming“, she said. 

As the great-grandson of a rabbi who immigrated to the United States in 1924 because of religious persecution, these words caught my attention.

My Zaida, Rabbi Jacob A. Dubrow, was a rabbi in the Vinnitsa region of Ukraine.  During the Russian Civil War, he was marked for death by Ukrainian Whites.  Fleeing to a large city he survived the threat, but was at risk for deportation to Siberia when the Reds were victorious.  He escaped Ukraine and acquired a hard-to-get visa to the United States.  His wife and daughters followed and arrived in New York in 1926. 

I wonder what Zaida would have said about the travel ban.    

Zaida was a Lubavitcher chasid, an Orthodox Jew.  He passed away decades before I was born; even my father knew him only as a child.  Nonetheless, having followed in his path as an Orthodox rabbi, and having close friends within the Lubavitch movement, I am confident I know what he would have said.  

Zaida was a quiet man, a scholar.  He was thoughtful, benevolent, but firm.    

Undoubtedly, he would have been against a blanket ban on immigration from war torn countries. He would have advocated that America accept peaceful refugees of war seeking a better life for their families.  He would have supported families being allowed to reunite; without that, my grandmother and her sisters would have never been allowed to join him in the United States.   

Yet, he was a wise man.  He would not have supported, for example, the immigration of the Ukrainian Cossacks who tried to kill him.  His passion for justice would have led him to do all he could to stop barbarous murderers from entering this country.  Being benevolent does not mean being a fool.    

Zaida would not have relied on a letter from Cossack leader Admiral Alexander Kolchak, certifying that a potential immigrant was upstanding.  He would have advocated a vetting system to make sure people from cultures that embrace murder and mayhem, were indeed peaceful and of law abiding.      

A rabbi who escaped death by telling his neighbors he was traveling north and instead travelled south, would have never accepted the liberal concept that all people are inherently good, that all humanity would be sweet as apple pie if only we welcome them into our homes.  Zaida saw human beings at their worst, and he would have passionately advocated keeping those who embraced evil away from these hallowed shores.

The very notion that the United States should rely on Iran – a country that threatens to destroy Israel and America – to vet visa holders to make sure they don’t want to destroy America, is madness.  The idea that Syria, Sudan and Somalia have the will and ability to separate 100 Muhammad Attas from 1000 of his peaceful coreligionists is absurd.     

Ignoring evil is not a Jewish concept.  It is a liberal concept.  Liberal rabbis protesting in support of unchecked immigration from countries where large swaths of the population seek to destroy the West are sorely misguided. To be Jewish is to be benevolent.  But to be Jewish is to recognize the reality of good and evil.  Judaism values doing good, selfless and endless good – within the context of supporting good and destroying evil.  Sadly, those who don’t recognize the reality of evil are least prepared to stand against it.

I pray that God give President Trump the strength and fortitude to protect the citizens of this great country, and that America continues, for centuries to come, to accept millions of peaceful immigrants, whatever their religion or lack thereof, who embrace the Judeo-Christian values that have made this country great.

This article appeared first in The Jewish Press.

33 thoughts on “On Rabbis and Immigration (Guest Musing)”

  1. Preach on! Just like my dad used to say “Open your eyes, look around. Such Wisdom.
    Thank you for your voice—keep it up.

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Thank you Ken–
      fortunately there are many wise people and here, with your help, we hope to give them voice.

  2. i noticed at the Berkeley Riots professionally-done signs proclaiming “Jews against Islamophobia”…. interestingly the Berkeley Riots earlier this month coincided with Iran’s ballistic missile tests where I understand that “Death to the US and Death to Israel” were hand-painted in Hebrew on the missile heads.

    Upon further examination, I found that the movement responsible for those “Jews against Islamophobia” signs is a San Francisco based movement called “The Jewish Voice for Peace”….they, as your husband pointed out in a recent teaching, are “lumping us in” with their misguided and frightening voice.

    Please visit their website and notice they have many “chapters” around the country. They are in unity with, and just like Black Lives Matter, in that both claim to be THE CORRECT AND ONLY voice for their lumped-in groups.

    And they are both leaning toward Islam, not Christianity or Judaism, which are perceived as enemies and in the way of their movements.

    If you are Jewish and not in agreement with Jewish Voice for Peace you will be shamed and called a homophobe; likewise if you are Black and not in agreement with BLM you will be shamed and called out an Uncle Tom.

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Good research there Bob–
      You are certainly correct. The Left has many more professional demonstrators, activists, rioters, and agitators than we do since so many of them are on welfare of one sort or another.
      we have our work cut out for us. Thanks for your help

      1. Teacher you wrote ” we have our work cut out for us ” ….i want to do the work and I want to work with and for you if you are hiring!

        1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

          Dear Bob–
          Tell us more in the Contact Us section under About Us. We always need help from top rate dedicated and competent humans such as you!

  3. Carmine Pescatore

    Very good article. Let the protesters take in a family and see how they really are. People come with their beliefs and customs and the Koran doesn’t look kindly to Jews and Christians. Are they going to change?

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Dear Carmine–
      the Left refuses to acknowledge that a person’s beliefs can profoundly shape his actions. They like to see humans as mere animals no more subject to belief than a goat or a giraffe is.

  4. Encouraged to hear like minded sensible conversation that does not denigrate those with opposing views but just speaks the truth plainly. Continued prayers for our president and our country.

  5. People today are acting on the advice and teachings of their parents and teachers.These people are hopelessly optimistic and turn a blind eye to reality.Having said that I don’t know what the answer is, presumably God does.

    1. Absolutely, but with hope and gratitude in their hearts. Not with the idea of destroying the society to which they came. There were a few socialists and anarchists who did immigrate and do great damage, but they were the distinct minority. Here, even though only a small number of refugees may want to commit acts of violence, the majority culture says that a Judeo-Christian culture is evil and must be overthrown by Sharia law. Take time to look at how unsafe Germany and Sweden have become for women – it is also a culture that teaches that women can be disrespected and molested if not behaving according to Islamic law.

    2. Of course, but that doesn’t mean that we have open borders and that anyone who wants to come here can do so. It never has been that way, and it isn’t now. It would result in chaos and the destruction of the country. Do you excercise some control over who comes into your home and who does not? Same thing. As I heard someone say, “The Constitution is not a suicide pact.”

  6. Nehemiah knew that walls were needed to protect Jerusalem and its people from outside influences. He had the courage and will to complete the job. I hope our leaders are just as successful in protecting our way of life.

  7. Well said. Nobody is against peaceful immigration. It is the violent people that are not wanted. I do pray for President Trump. I did pray for obama also.

  8. For some forty-five years I have rubbed shoulders with all kinds of Jewish people, who come in all shapes and sizes, in all political persuasions. But the ones by far the most vocal are those who embrace liberal Progressivism as the utmost pinnacle of Judaic values, and silence opponents or even reasoned critics with the following catch-phrase: ‘Oh. I didn’t know you were anti-Semitic.’ This pernicious behavior I have encountered many times. And as Rabbi Lapin points out, by far the most Jewish politicians (perhaps all) in the legislative branch are Progressive Democrats. Sean Hannity advises us: ‘There are no more moderate Democrats.’

    Thank God that Rabbi Lapin exposed the story of the Tower of Babel as a parable warning of the dire perils of socialism, which is perennial and will pop up in every era, so each new generation must penetrate its chameleon disguises and fight it anew. Despite the recurrent failures of socialism, we hear again and again: ‘Oh, THIS TIME it will be different.’ But we should listen to David Horowitz, who was raised by his parents as an atheist Communist, until he saw the light. While preaching equality and ‘loving kindness,’ the Left will commit any outrage, spread any falsehood to neutralize and destroy an opponent. Their glorious End justifies all means, no matter how immoral or despicable. Their consuming desire is for power, yet once they obtain it, they have no guidelines how to use it. They exhibit zero tolerance for disagreement: dissidents must be silenced, converted or destroyed. And as for the ‘equality’ they preach, in their ‘classless’ societies, some people (ruling Party members) wind up inevitably more equal than others.

    I am so happy that there is another wise Rabbi who is not blind to the shadow of evil masquerading beneath the cloak of ‘loving kindness.’ Mr. Trump has imposed a temporary moratorium on immigration from a mere seven nations, not upon Islam. Permitting entry to a Trojan Horse of Philistines or Nazis who would destroy this Society is not loving kindness, but blind stupidity.

  9. I know several of the rabbis that were in this protest and am embarrassed by their distortions and less than honest portrayal of the issues that need addressed in an honest and practical way. May we all grow to deal with the world the way it REALLY works!

  10. Thank you for this. Many of us with conservative values believe that this ban may help to avert future attacks on our citizens. We are also aware that there are many immigrants living here in peace, and that there are some who are here who wish us harm. We are a benevolent nation and rather turning a blind eye to ideologies that are in stark contrast to our own we do,as the Rabbi states, need to exercise wisdom and not act a fool. Clear speaking like this helps to build us up in the face of liberal’s continuous assault on clear thought. We pray for our President, his counselors, and those elected to serve us….that they thirst for His wisdom. And again I thank you for sharing this with us.

    1. Linda, the unraveling of America that is taking place right now is amazing. You are so right that we need ‘building up’ to face the assault that is going on.

      1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

        Indeed Jerusha–
        and He must be able to trust us to do our part of the job. Just as he trusted Moses to lead the people into the Red Sea before He parted the waters

  11. God has blessed this Rabbi with wisdom and discernment thankfully there are some Jewish and Christian leaders who understand what is happening. Sadly there are many Jews like those members of J-Street, who along with many who claim to espouse Christianity that are suffering from a great delusion and are giving aid and comfort to those who would be delighted to remove their heads from their moorings. These are desperate times where this nation along with Israel are fighting a political insurgency within as well as evil machinations from without. We can only conclude that the souls of those involved have been sold out to the dark side.

    1. I am sure the Rabbi you spoke of wouldn’t want people who have already been vetted to not be able to return to the United States!!!

    1. We are very excited about Rabbi Rosenblatt joining us at AAJC. He is a businessman and rabbi in TX who sees a bigger picture than many others.


        This is one of the best presentations of historical fact, based on history, lived by a Jewish Rabbi and scholar, that like Christianity, there are very bad shepherds that herd the flocks in wrong directions and claim they are the “main body of believers, ” when in reality it’s a deadly Liberal Socialist Agenda (LSA).
        Let me share one other fractured misunderstanding pushed by the LSA. I served twenty-two years from the military, 1965 – 1987 honorably, and survived some harsh hit. It is in the nature of a Socialist System, which today’s generations fail to accept it’s design & function to safely work within the REPUBLIC of The United States. When you take that Oath, your obligation never ends until your last breath. You are a guardian to fight and defend the Constitution, the people, the land against all enemies both foreign and domestic. God’s view of an OATH be it as support of Christianity, as an Eagle Scout, or a U.S.Navy contract it is serious business of biblical proportions. This is why the LSA is so determined to eradicate the Uniform Code Of Military Justice. The Laws you must abide by as a military person, and for the last 47 years they have been chewing on it like a Great White Shark! The pearl in this it’s a spring board for people to learn excellent skills to earn a living, when you wasted you learning years and not focused on learning history to survive the future . You have to think ahead with a plan, and vertical for guidance. The possibility is limitless. And last, but least, you will have learn you are no longer a third class citizen, when you leave service any longer by the public professionals, but now Mr. John Q. Citizen fully endowed and supported by the US Constitution. AND NO ONE WILL EVER reduce my human rights again. I Richard E. Mahler MM1(SS) earned my birthright , in Viet Nam, Cold War, ever vigilant my sisters and brothers in Christ.

    2. Thank you so much!!! I am deeply grateful for this post and will be forwarding to many! Nothing is more troubling than radical rabbi’s using their kippot to gain attention for leftist causes that are destructive.

      1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

        Your note is encouraging Diane–
        Thanks for helping get it out. Rabbi Rosenblatt, our director, will be making certain that this post is followed by many others helping to defeat the radical agenda.

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