Monday, 13 February 2017

Over 100 years ago, Barnett Levine was greeted by the New York skyline and the Statue of Liberty as he arrived in the United States, having fled anti-Semitism and pogroms in his native Poland. Today his grandson saw those very same sights when he joined about 700 others in New York’s Battery Park at a rally protesting President Donald Trump’s executive order banning all refugees from the country for 120 days. 
“I am the grandchild of four immigrants who came here when the gates of the United States were wide open and they made a life here. … I think that it is the duty of the Jewish community to pay this forward to other immigrants who are trying to come to the United States,” Harold Levine, a 60-year-old marketing consultant, told JTA. 
The rally was organized by HIAS, formerly known as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, part of an initiative by the immigrant resettlement group called the “National Day of Jewish Action for Refugees,” protesting Trump’s executive order.


Mark Hetfield, CEO of HIAS, said the rallies, which were co-sponsored by over 20 groups — including the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, American Jewish World Service, the Union for Reform Judaism and the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly — were a rare moment of joining together in support of refugees. 
I haven’t seen anything like this since I got my start [with HIAS] in 1989, which was at the height of the Soviet Jewry movement. This is a galvanizing moment like that, but the difference is that then we were standing up for Jews, and now we are standing up as Jews,” said Hetfield.

In the video below, the crowd chants "Let them in!".


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