Leviticus 19:33-34

(33) When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not wrong them. (34) The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love them as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I Adonai am your G-d.

וַיִּקְרָא יט:לג-לד

.לג וְכִי-יָגוּר אִתְּךָ גֵּר, בְּאַרְצְכֶם--לֹא תוֹנוּ, אֹתוֹ.

.לד כְּאֶזְרָח מִכֶּם יִהְיֶה לָכֶם הַגֵּר הַגָּר אִתְּכֶם, וְאָהַבְתָּ לוֹ כָּמוֹךָ--כִּי-גֵרִים הֱיִיתֶם, בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם: אֲנִי, ה’ אֱלֹהֵיכֶם.

Dear Senator Schumer,

As rabbis and Jewish community leaders in New York State, we want to thank you for prioritizing the inclusion of a pathway to citizenship for immigrant youth, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, essential workers, and their families, in any economic recovery or infrastructure legislation that moves forward via budget reconciliation. As we continue to confront a public health and economic crisis that has claimed more than 500,000 lives and exacerbated deep racial and economic inequities, it is vital that we include protections for immigrant workers to secure the health of our nation and to lay the foundation for a just recovery.

Our history and tradition commands us to love the stranger; variations on this passage appear in the Torah no fewer than 36 times.

An estimated five million undocumented immigrants, including 202,500 DACA recipients and 131,300 TPS holders, serve our country everyday as essential workers. Nearly 20 percent of all undocumented essential workers work in the essential retail sector, including in restaurants and grocery stores. Over 400,000 are healthcare workers, serving us and our loved ones as doctors, nurses, and home health aides, or working in key jobs that keep health care settings up and running. About 660,000, nearly 12 percent, are in the essential services industry, which includes landscaping and child care service. Undocumented essential workers have stepped up to serve our country in a time of crisis, and have been central to keeping our country moving and healthy during this this historic, tragic time. They should all be able to apply for U.S. citizenship, as should all DACA and TPS recipients who are not essential workers.

Permanent protection for individuals who live under the fear of detention and deportation, as well as the constant threat of exploitation, is not just the moral action, but also the most sensible choice. Living with so much uncertainty only harms these crucial workers, as well as our community and our economy more broadly. Pathways to citizenship for essential workers and their families, Dreamers and TPS holders are inextricably linked to America’s recovery, as they would increase wages and productivity throughout the U.S. economy, create jobs, generate additional tax revenue, strengthen worker protections for immigrant and native workers alike, and lift many families out of poverty.

Immigrant justice is especially personal to the American Jewish community, many of whom owe our lives to the fact that we or an ancestor were able to immigrate to this country. The Jewish population in America is diverse and complex, including by race, gender, orientation, ability, and immigration status. Even now, undocumented Jews working in essential industries like healthcare fear that their ability to continue aiding and caring in this challenging time might be cut short.

Jewish tradition instills in us a commitment to protect the oppressed and welcome the outsider. We have a long history of active engagement in supporting immigrants and refugees. We are united in our belief that we, as a society, share a moral and civic duty to help create the same opportunities for those who seek to share in the American Dream.

Again, we urge you to ensure a pathway to citizenship for immigrant youth, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, essential workers, and their families are included in the final deal, in order to ensure a robust recovery that is inclusive and equitable for all Americans regardless of their immigration status. Immigrant workers and their families are vital to the fabric of our nation. It is time our government acts accordingly.

If we can provide any further information, please do not hesitate to contact Rabbi Margo Hughes-Robinson at mhughesrobinson@truah.org or Sophie Ellman-Golan at sophie@jfrej.org.

Thank you for your consideration.


Rabbi Aaron Brusso

Rabbi Adam Fisher, Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Isaiah, Stony Brook

Alan G. Himmelstein, Immigration Committee Head, Temple Israel Center, White Plains; Executive Committee Member, Westchester Jewish Coalition for Immigration

Alan Ganek

Alane Ellenbogen

Alice R. Schiff, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Amy Kass

Amy Rosenbaum, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Rabbi Andrue Kahn

Ann V. Schaffer, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Cantor Anna Chapman May

Anne Corey, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Audrey Sasson, Executive Director, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice

Rabbi Ayelet S. Cohen

Rabbi Barat Ellman

Barbara Baker, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Professor Barbara Schecter, Sarah Lawrence College

Barbara Weinstein

Rabbi Ben Goldberg, Port Chester

Betsy Miller Landis, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Rabbi Billy Dreskin, Rabbi Emeritus, Woodlands Community Temple, White Plains

Rabbi Bob Gluck

Brad Hoylman, New York State Senator

Bunny Rosen

Rabbi Burton Visotzky

Cathleen Barnhart

Cecile Stein, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Rabbi Charles P. Rabinowitz

Charlotte Cole, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Claudia M. Bloch, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Cora Gordon

Cynthia Ehrenkrantz, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Daniel M. Bronstein, Hunter College

Rabbi Daniel Ross, Central Synagogue

David Chalfin, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue, White Plains

David Ellenson

David Katz

Rabbi David L. Kline

David Peck

Debby Glasser

Denise Abner

Diane Girdwoyn Caspe

Diane Travers, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Rabbi Elana Nemitoff Bresler

Elise Goldman

Elizabeth Clain

Ellen Hoffer Cohen

Rabbi Ellen Lippmann, Rabbi Emerita, Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives, Brooklyn

Elliott J. Rosen

Rabbi Elliott M. Tepperman, Bnai Keshet

Emily Cohen, President, Congregation Emanu-El of Westchester

Rabbi Emily Cohen, West End Synagogue

Esther Levy, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Eve Jaskow, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Rabbi Felicia Sol

Francine Stein

Fred Mehlman

Rabbi Gabriel Kretzmer-Seed

Gary Freidman, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Gloria Lazar, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Rabbi Guy Austrian, Fort Tryon Jewish Center

Harry J. Waizer, Board Chair, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Harry Jellinek, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Helen Rosenberg

Rabbi Hilly Haber, Central Synagogue

Holly Rosen Fink, Co-Founder and President, Westchester Jewish Coalition for Immigration

Howard Rattner

Rabbi Ilanit Lauren Goldberg-Gradess, Jewish Theological Seminary of America

Iris Levine

Jack Simkhay

Rabbi Jade Sank Ross

Cantor Janet Leuchter

Rabbi Jeffrey Marker

Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, Founder & CEO of Dayenu

Rabbi Joan Glazer Farber, (Reform)

Joan Rosen

Joel Crystal

Rabbi Jonathan L. Rubenstein, Temple Sinai, Saratoga Springs

Rabbi Jonathan Slater

Josephine Kellman

Rabbi Joshua Stanton

Rabbi Joshua Strom

Joy H. Brownstein, Tikkun Olam/Social Action Chair, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Rabbi Judith B, Edelstein

Judith Zingher, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Karen Hamlin, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Karen S. Dolins, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Keith Blackman

Laura Rotter

Laura Solomon, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann, SAJ-Judaism that Stands for All

Lee DiTullio

Lee Jason Goldberg

Lenore Geller

Rabbi Lester B. Bronstein, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue, White Plains

Liba Bronstein-Schwartz

Loren Napoli, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Lori Kapner Hosp

Dr. Lynne Hoffman

Rabbi Mackenzie Zev Reynolds

Madeline Ritter, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action - Riverdale

Rabbi Marc J. Margolius, Institute for Jewish Spirituality

Marc Landis, URJ North American Board of Trustees

Marie Samtula, Bookkeeper, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Marilyn Weintraub

Marjorie Feder

Maxine Sugarman

Rabbi Mia Simring

Rabbi Michael Feinberg

Michael Goldman

Rabbi Mira Rivera, Board Certified Chaplain (Conservative)

Rabbi Miriam Grossman

Miriam R. Koren, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Neala Markowitz, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Norman Ettenger

Rabbi Pamela Wax

Patricia Cipora Harte

Paulina Ram, Occupational Therapist

Penny Grossman, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Dr. Penny Massoth Beckman

Peter B. Ackerman

Peter Bernstein

Peter Cohen, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Phyllis Goldman

Phyllis Rosen, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Rachel B. Tiven

Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg, Founder of Malkhut

Rachel Gordon Bernstein

Rabbi Rachel Timoner, Congregation Beth Elohim

Raphaelle Haimowitz, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Rabbi Rena S. Blumenthal

Rabbi Renni S. Altman

Dr. Richard Woodrow

Risa Kaufman

Robert Balin

Roberta M. Roos

Rochelle Leiber-Miller

Roni Sarig

Rosie Aronin, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Ruth L. Cowan, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Ruth Messinger

Ruth Rothseid

Sally L. Hoffman, Chavurat Tikvah

Rabbi Sarah Berman

Rabbi Shelley Kovar Becker

Shelli W. Katz, Woodlands Community Temple, Co-Chair NYCD 16 Indivisible Immigrant Justice Committee

Shirley Green

Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub

Simon Aronin, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Stephen Glusker, Woodlands Community Temple

Sue Ellen Dodell, Bend the Arc Jewish Action - Riverdale

Susan Blumberg

Rabbi Susan Falk (Reconstructionist)

Rabbi Susan L. Oren

Susan Robin Leon

Susan Schwartz

Terri Sperber

Terry Toll, Westchester Jewish Coalition for Immigration

Theo Liebmann, Clinical Professor of Law

Theodora Saal

Tod Cooperman

Vicki S. Ettenger

Vicki Stein

Victoria Presser, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

Victoria Rosal Greif, Bet Am Shalom Synagogue

*Affiliations listed for identification purposes only*

Thank you to our friends at Bend the Arc for anchoring a model for this letter, signed by dozens of Jewish organizations around the country.