Jewish community leaders unite in support for refugees

In the aftermath of the events in Paris, leading representatives of the UK’s synagogue movements and prominent Jewish organisations, including Reform Judaism, have signed an open letter to the press to restate their commitment to refugees.

The letter, initiated by The Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE), is also signed by World Jewish Relief, the Jewish Volunteering Network, the Association of Jewish Refugees, Tzelem, The Woolf Institute and Mitzvah Day.

Edie Friedman, Director of JCORE added: “Of course, security is uppermost in our minds right now. But while recognising that, we mustn’t lose sight of our common humanity – the very thing that separates us from the terrorists. We must also remind ourselves that the refugees are fleeing from the very violence that engulfed Paris.”

The statement says:

‘The horrific events of Friday 13 November have inevitably cast a shadow over all of us. Our thoughts are with the victims, their families and friends and the people of Paris.

We must not allow these horrendous events to divide our communities. Nor should we lessen our commitment to supporting refugees who have endured unspeakable horrors in their quest for safety.

Many in our community, conscious of their own history, are committed to doing something practical in response to the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War. It is imperative at this time that we stay focused on that challenge and continue with that work.’

Adam Rose, Chairperson, The Jewish Council for Racial Equality

Dr Edie Friedman, Executive Director, The Jewish Council for Racial Equality

Paul Anticoni, Chief Executive, World Jewish Relief

Student Rabbi Robyn Ashworth-Steen, Leo Baeck College

Rabbi Danny Bergson, Pinner United Synagogue

Rabbi Yehudah Black, Kenton United Synagogue

Hannah Brady, President of UJS (Union of Jewish Students of UK & Ireland)

Samantha Cozens and Rita Adler, Co-ordinators, LJS Drop-in for Asylum
Seeker Families

Mia Hasenson-Gross, Director, René Cassin

Professor Tony Kushner, Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish relations, University of Southampton

Leonie Lewis, Director, Jewish volunteering network and Vice chair, Faith Forum for London

Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi to Reform Judaism

Dr Edward Kessler MBE, Woolf Institute, Cambridge

Laura Marks OBE, Founder, Mitzvah Day

Rabbi David Mason, Muswell Hill United Synagogue

Michelle Minsky, Head of Chesed Department, United Synagogue

Michael Newman, Chief Executive, The Association of Jewish Refugees

Matt Plen, Chief Executive, Masorti Judaism

Rabbi Danny Rich, Senior Rabbi and Chief Executive of Liberal Judaism

Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild, Tzelem: The Rabbinic Call for Social and Economic Justice in the UK,

Richard Verber, Senior Vice President, The Board of Deputies of British Jews

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Senior Rabbi, Masorti Judaism.