Cleveland Rabbis fight for Syrian refugees in letter to President Trump

Posted: 7:50 PM, Jan 23, 2017
Updated: 2017-01-23 19:50:07-05

A Cleveland Rabbi is one of nearly 1,600 Jewish leaders, in the U.S. sending a bold message to the incoming Trump administration.

In a rare move, they sent a letter to the new president, warning him of the danger of closing the door on Syrian refugees.

From California to the New York Island, hundreds and hundreds of prominent Jewish leaders have come together under one cause.

"Folks often say between two Jews there are three opinions, and that's an understatement," said Fairmount Temple Rabbi Robert Nosanchuk.

But last week nearly 1,600 called on President Trump to keep America’s doors open to refugees. "Orthodox, Conservative, Reform rabbis all putting their voices to work,5" said Nosanchuk.

That includes at least five from the Cleveland-area, including Rabbi Robert Nosanchuk of Fairmount Temple.

"Jews are commanded by the Torah, by the teachings of Jewish tradition to not only love the stranger but specifically to not oppress," said Nosanchuk.

But it's not only Jewish scripture that is driving Nosanchuk and his fellow Rabbis, but also Jewish history. "We know what it feels like, my goodness throughout history we know what it feels," said Nosanchuk.

Nosanchuk's grandmother came to this country as a refugee, escaping the Nazi occupation of Poland. She turned 100 this week. "And almost all of her immediate family members were taken by Hitler," said Nosanchuk.

The Rabbis' efforts are being applauded by local non-profit us together, which helps resettle refugees in Cleveland. "Any time faith leaders get together it is truly significant," said U.S. Together community relations manager Danielle Drake.          

But Drake says especially for this cause. "We are in the world's worst refugee crisis that we've ever had. We have surpassed numbers from World War II, so there are over 17 million refugees worldwide," said Drake.