The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Trump’s discriminatory order as seen throughout history: Hillel

“What is done cannot be undone, but one can prevent it happening again.”
~Anne Frank

As members of the Hillel Society board, we wish to speak out regarding the recent executive order about immigration and refugees. This order stops all refugee admissions for the next 120 days, bars citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States of America and turns away Syrian refugees indefinitely. The order, whether it intends to or not, discriminates. It displays a misunderstanding of the diversity of the targeted countries and of Islam. The order ignores that many Muslims are victims in these countries, and that people from many different religions and ethnicities also live there and may need refuge or to seek immigration.

We see this not as a political issue, but as an issue of justice, involving human safety and dignity. We are stronger as a diverse community. Anyone who has or is being marginalized, oppressed or silenced is in our thoughts and has our sympathy. As an organization that values inclusivity and celebrates the richness of interfaith relations, we extend our love and support to those who are alienated. You will always have a home at Hillel.

As Jewish Americans, we feel great empathy for those whose identities are being degraded and compromised as they seek asylum in America, and we will not turn a blind eye to their plight. Indeed, we share similar experiences. In the 1920s, the unprecedented Johnson-Reed and Emergency Quota Acts curtailed immigration of Jews, East and Central Europeans, Africans, Middle Easterners and Asians. Later, in 1939, 900 people aboard a ship fleeing Nazi Germany who had been promised refuge in the U.S.A. were denied entry. The passengers were sent back to Europe, where a third of them died. Let us not perpetuate this American legacy. It was not until 1965 that the Civil Rights Act permitted immigration to resume. It is incumbent on us to reach out and help those in need, as exemplified in the Talmud: “Whoever saves one life, it is as if that person saved the world entire.”

Many people in the United States come from immigrant or refugee families. Native Americans suffered genocide and loss of land, and many African Americans came from enslaved families. America should be everyone’s Promised Land, embracing dignity across differences in race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender, class and nationality. The U.S. should be a home for us ALL. While some Americans have discriminated against their fellow countrymen in the past, others have fought for social justice. As Hillel members, we see social justice as the dual responsibility of our heritage and the U.S. Constitution.


Written by Sydney Edelson ’19, Jessica Carr and Brandon Smith ’17.

Sydney Edelson ’19 is the vice president of social action of Hillel.

Jessica Carr is an assistant professor of religious studies and Berman Scholar of Jewish Studies.

Brandon Smith ’17 is the cultural education chair of Hillel.

These three writers speak on behalf of the 2017 Board of the Hillel Society of Lafayette College.

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

If you wish for your response to an article to be submitted as a letter to the editor, please email [email protected].
All Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *