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The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando expresses great concern over the current and potential impact of the Executive Order Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States signed by President Trump on January 27, 2017.

While we respect the need to protect the safety and security of our nation’s citizens, we strongly believe that this can and must be accomplished without abandoning the historic commitment shared by the Jewish community and all Americans to welcoming immigrants and treating refugees with compassion.

This commitment is deeply rooted in the Jewish tradition and the Jewish experience.  We are a people of immigrants. Throughout our history we have been treated as “strangers in a strange land” and as targets of religious persecution. 

Because of that experience, which for many of us was all too recent, we empathize with groups who are similarly cast out. We are guided by that experience and the Torah-based mandates to welcome the stranger and care for the weak. It is not only our religious values that speak to welcoming those who seek shelter and safety, but it is also a pillar of free, democratic nations.

We wish to make clear our deep concern over this action which appears to define policy for individuals based upon their religion. It is our hope that this Administration implement policy that remains true to the values of diversity, liberty and religious tolerance deeply rooted and centrally regarded in both Jewish tradition and the American experience as a whole.