2017-03-01 / Voice at the Shore

Jews join Muslims and others at AC rally protesting immigration ban

By ELLEN WEISMAN STRENGER Voice shore editor


From left: Mayor Don Guardian, Kaleem Shabazz, Rabbi Jonathan Kremer, and Cantor Ralph Goren stand together in opposition to President Trump’s immigration order at a rally in Atlantic City on Feb. 2. From left: Mayor Don Guardian, Kaleem Shabazz, Rabbi Jonathan Kremer, and Cantor Ralph Goren stand together in opposition to President Trump’s immigration order at a rally in Atlantic City on Feb. 2. Local Jewish community members joined local Muslims and others to protest President Donald Trump’s executive order halting immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries on February 2 at an Interfaith Social Justice Vigil held at Atlantic City’s City Hall. Organized by community activist and Muslim leader Kaleem Shabazz, the vigil drew dozens of people of all faiths.

“The gathering was an opportunity for clergy and elected officials to voice concern about what we perceive as an errant direction in which President Trump is leading our country,” said Rabbi Jonathan Kremer of Shirat Hayam in Ventnor, who attended along with Hazzan Jeffrey Myers and Rabbi Gordon Geller and many other members of his congregation.

“As Jews, we have felt the sting of being turned away from the United States in our time of need, and we affirm that this must not happen again,” noted Myers.

Speakers of all denominations spoke out against the Trump Administration’s targeting of Muslims, said Kremer.

“No one argued against the need to keep Americans safe; there were calls for a more reasoned, coordinated and humane approach to immigration that did not appear to single out adherents of the ‘majority’ religion in several countries while favoring ‘minority’ religions in those countries,” he added.

Some of those present, including Cantor Ralph

Goren of Beth El, carried “checklist” signs that read: “My great-grandparents/ grandparents/parents were immigrants.”

“We were also reminded that for many at the gathering, their ancestors were not immigrants but rather ‘imports,’ brought forcibly to this country,” said Kremer. “Even so, the feeling at the event was one of hope, intention and unity in the face of xenophobia and religious bias.”

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