Rabbinic Letter Against Israel’s Travel Ban

Rabbinic Letter
Aug 8, 2017 · 9 min read

“A controversy for the sake of Heaven will have lasting value, but a controversy not for the sake of Heaven will not endure” (Pirkei Avot 5:17).

We, the undersigned rabbis, stand with our colleague, Rabbi Alissa Shira Wise, who was denied entry to Israel because of her support for the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel. She had been travelling with two other Jews, a Christian, and a Muslim who were all members of an interfaith delegation to meet with Israeli and Palestinian nonviolent peace activists.

We hold diverse opinions on BDS. Even though many of us have substantive differences with Rabbi Wise and other rabbinic colleagues who support the BDS movement in some or all of its forms, we believe that the decision to bar Rabbi Wise from visiting Israel is anti-democratic and desecrates our vision of a diverse Jewish community that holds multiple perspectives.

Boycotts are a legitimate nonviolent tactic that have been used both in our own country and around the world in order to create justice for marginalized and oppressed communities. Whether we support boycott is a controversy for the sake of heaven. It endures because we struggle together and debate how we can create peace, justice, and equality for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

The land of Israel is steeped with religious meaning for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. As rabbis we are particularly conscious that Jews have been making pilgrimages to Eretz Yisrael for centuries; we understand the deep meaning that this holds, and we are outraged that the Israeli government would prohibit Rabbi Wise from entering. We are also painfully aware that many Palestinians have long been banned from entering the country to visit their own families.

Out of deep loyalty to members of our communities, congregations, and rabbinical associations who may also be barred from entering Israel in the future, we cannot remain silent.

Travelling to Israel in order to meet with Israelis and Palestinians provides all who care about the conflict an opportunity to learn from and share ideas with people across borders, to see all people as created b’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God, and to explore how we can support all who are working to ensure justice and peace for all.

Add your name to the list of signers

List of Signers — Congregations and organizations listed for identification purposes only:

  1. Rabbi Leora Abelson, Congregation Agudas Achim, Attleboro MA
  2. Rabbi Susan Abramson, Temple Shalom Emeth, Burlington MA
  3. Rabbi Renni Altman, HUC-JIR, Great Neck NY
  4. Rabbi Alana Alpert, Congregation T’chiyah, Detroit MI
  5. Rabbi Rebecca Alpert, Temple University, Philadelphia PA
  6. Rabbi Benjamin Arnold, Beth Evergreen, Granby CO
  7. Rabbi Arik Ascherman, Jerusalem ISRAEL
  8. Dr. Caryn Aviv, Rabbinical Student, ALEPH, Denver CO
  9. Rabbi Larry Bach, Judea Reform Congregation, Durham NC
  10. Rabbi Lev Baesh, Kol HaLev, Austin TX
  11. Rabbi Chava Bahle, Or Tzafon, Suttons Bay MI
  12. Sarah Barasch-Hagans, Rabbinical Student, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Philadelphia PA
  13. Benjamin Barer, Rabbinical Student, Hebrew College, Boston MA
  14. Rabbi David Basior, Kadima Reconstructionist Community, Seattle WA
  15. Rabbi David Dunn Bauer, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, New York NY
  16. Rabbi Renee Bauer, Madison, WI
  17. Rabbi Ofer Sabath Beit-Halachmi, Hebrew Union College — Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati OH
  18. Rabbi Philip J Bentley, Agudas Israel Congregation, Hendersonville NC
  19. Rabbi Marjorie Berman, Clarks Summit PA
  20. Rabbi Phyllis Berman, Spiritual Director, Philadelphia PA
  21. Rabbi Kevin Bernstein, Philadelphia PA
  22. Rabbi Haim Beliak, Los Angeles CA
  23. Rabbi Joseph Berman, Silver Spring MD
  24. Rabbi Rena Blumenthal, New Paltz NY
  25. Rabbi Daniel Bogard Adath Israel, Cincinnati OH
  26. Rabbi Elizabeth Bolton, Ottawa ON
  27. Rabbi Stephen Booth-Nadav, Denver CO
  28. Sarah Brammer-Shlay, Rabbinical Student, If Not Now, Philadelphia PA
  29. Cantor Vera Broekhuysen, Temple Emanue-El of Haverhill, Haverhill MA
  30. Rabbi Caryn Broitman, Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center, Vineyard Haven MA
  31. Rabbi Sharon Brous, IKAR, Los Angeles CA
  32. Rabbi Shoshana Brown, Temple Beth El, Fall River MA
  33. Rabbi Brumberg-Kraus, Wheaton College, Norton MA
  34. Rabbi David Brusin, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, Whitefish Bay WI
  35. Rabbi Simcha Daniel Burstyn, Kibbutz Lotan ISRAEL
  36. Rabbi Carol Caine, Albany CA
  37. Rabbi Ian Chesir-Teran, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, Hannaton ISRAEL
  38. Rabbi Howard A. Cohen, Congregation Shirat Hayam, Bennington VT
  39. Rabbi Michael M. Cohen, Israel Congregation, Manchester Center VT
  40. Rabbi Sandra Cohen, Denver CO
  41. Rabbi Shahar Colt, Watertown MA
  42. Rabbi Kathryn Cook, Chaplain Heart Hospital, Austin TX
  43. Rabbi David J. Cooper, Kehilla Community Synagogue, Piedmont CA
  44. Rabbi Meryl Crean, Glenside PA
  45. Rachel Davidson, Rabbinical Student, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Philadelphia PA
  46. Rabbi Michael Davis, Makom Shalom, Chicago IL
  47. Rabbi Nate DeGroot, IKAR, Los Angeles CA
  48. Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb, Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation, Bethesda MD
  49. Rabbi Doris Dyen, Makom HaLev, Pittsburgh PA
  50. David Eber, Rabbinical Student, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Philadelphia PA
  51. Rabbi Judith Edelstein, D. Min, New York NY
  52. Rabbi Amy Eilberg, Los Altos CA
  53. Rabbi Bruce Elder, Congregation Hakafa, Glencoe IL
  54. Dr. Rabbi Barat Ellman, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, New York NY
  55. Rabbi Diane Elliot, Wholly Present, El Sobrante CA
  56. Rabbi Andrew Vogel Ettin, Temple Israel, Salisbury NC
  57. Rabbi Michael Edward Feinberg, Greater New York Labor Religion Coalition, New York NY
  58. Rabbi Charles Feinberg, Interfaith Action for Human Rights, Washington DC
  59. Rabbi Zev Hayyim-Feyer, Pomona CA
  60. Rabbi Mark Hurvitz, Davka, New York NY
  61. Rabbi Brian Field, Judaism Your Way, Denver CO
  62. Rabbi Tirzah Firestone, Congregation Nevei Kodesh, Boulder CO
  63. Rabbi Nancy Flam, Northampton MA
  64. Rabbi Ari Lev Fornari, Kol Tzedek Synagogue, Philadelphia PA
  65. Laurie Franklin, Rabbinic Intern and Spiritual Leader, Har Shalom, Missoula MT
  66. Rabbi Eli Freedman, Congregation Rodeph Shalom, Philadelphia PA
  67. Rabbi Dayle Friedman, Growing Older, Philadelphia PA
  68. Rabbi John Friedman, Judea Reform Congregation, Durham NC
  69. Rabbi Marsha Friedman, String of Pearls Congregation, Princeton NJ
  70. Rabbi Shoshana Friedman, Temple Sinai, Brookline MA
  71. Rabbi Joyce Galaski, Florence MA
  72. Rabbi Jonah Geffen, Congregation Shaare Zedek, New York NY
  73. Rabbi Ruth Gelfarb, Har HaShem, Boulder CO
  74. Rabbi Everett Gendler, Emeritus, Phillips Academy, Andover MA
  75. Rabbi Jeremy Gerber, Congregation Ohev Shalom, Wallingford PA
  76. Rabbi Sherril Gilbert, Montreal QC
  77. Rabbi Rosalind Glazer, Jerusalem ISRAEL
  78. Rabbi Bob Gluck, University at Albany, Albany NY
  79. Rabbi Shai Gluskin, Philadelphia PA
  80. Rabbi Elisa Goldberg, Philadelphia PA
  81. Rabbi Dan Goldblatt, Beth Chaim Congregation, Danville CA
  82. Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg, Malkhut, Forest Hills NY
  83. Rabbi Shelley Goldman, Indianapolis IN
  84. Rabbi Monica Gomery, Chicago IL
  85. Rabbi Mark Asher Goodman, BaMidbar Wilderness Therapy, Denver CO
  86. Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Shomeret Shalom Global Congregation, Berkeley CA
  87. Rabbi Lisa Grant, Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion, Brooklyn NY
  88. Rabbi Laurie Green, Baltimore MD
  89. Rabbi Hillel Greene, Newton MA
  90. Rabbi David Greenstein, Congregation Shomrei Emunah, Montclair NJ
  91. Rabbi Suzanne Griffel, Chicago IL
  92. Miriam Grossman, Rabbinical Student, Brooklyn NY
  93. Rabbi Salomon Gruenwald, Congregation HEA, Denver CO
  94. Rabbi Maurice Harris, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College/Jewish Reconstructionist Communities, Philadelphia PA
  95. Alicia Harris, Rabbinical Student, Cincinnati OH
  96. Lindsey Healey-Pollack, Rabbinical Student, Jewish Theological Seminary, New York NY
  97. Rabbi Reinhard Heydrich, Berlin GERMANY
  98. Rabbi Linda Holtzman, Tikkun Olam Chavurah, Philadelphia PA
  99. Rebecca Hornstein, Rabbinical Student, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Philadelphia PA
  100. Rabbi Margaret Holub, Mendocino CA
  101. Rabbi Geoff Huntting, Temple Sinai, Sarasota FL
  102. Rabbi Jill Jacobs, T’ruah, New York NY
  103. Rabbi Joshua Jacobs-Velde, Silver Spring MD
  104. Rabbi Burt Jacobson, Kehilla Community Synagogue, El Sobrante CA
  105. Rabbi Ellen Jaffe-Gill, Tidewater Chavurah, Virginia Beach VA
  106. Rabbi Marisa James, New York NY
  107. Rabbi Beth Janus, Philadelphia PA
  108. Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, New York NY
  109. Rabbi Gary Karlin, Bloomfield CT
  110. Ariana Katz, Rabbinical Student, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Philadelphia PA
  111. Rabbi Joanna Katz, Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, New Paltz NY
  112. Rabbi Hillel Katzir, Fort Collins CO
  113. Rabbi Emma Kippley-Ogman, St. Paul MN
  114. Rabbi Edward J. Klein, Humanist Jewish Congregation of Queens, Queens NY
  115. Rabbi Jason Klein, New York NY
  116. Lonnie Kleinman, Rabbinical Student, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Philadelphia PA
  117. Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Philadelphia PA
  118. Rabbi Elliot Kukla, Oakland CA
  119. Rabbi Alan LaPayover, Philadelphia PA
  120. Rabbi Michael Adam Latz, Shir Tikvah Congregation, Minneapolis MN
  121. Joseph Laur, Rabbinical Student, Aleph Alliance, Wendell MA
  122. Rabbi Adam Lavitt, Providence RI
  123. Rabbi Alex Lazarus-Klein, Congregation Shir Shalom, Amherst NY
  124. Rabbi Esther Lederman, Union for Reform Judaism, Washington DC
  125. Rabbi Barry Leff, Jerusalem ISRAEL
  126. Rabbi Michael Lerner, Berkeley CA
  127. Rabbi Joshua Lesser, Congregation Bet Haverim, Atlanta GA
  128. Rabbi Sarra Lev, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Philadelphia PA
  129. Rabbi Sue E. Levy, Houston TX
  130. Rabbi Yael Levy, Mishkan Shalom, Philadelphia PA
  131. Richard Levy, Rabbinical Student, Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles CA
  132. Rabbi Annie Lewis, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Philadelphia PA
  133. Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Philadelphia PA
  134. Rabbi Jonathan Lipnick, New York NY
  135. Rabbi Ellen Lippmann, Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives, Brooklyn NY
  136. Rabbi Jane Rachel Litman, Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley CA
  137. Rabbi Jonathan Malino, Guilford College, Ottawa ON
  138. Rabbi Shana Margolin, Monpelier VT
  139. Rabbi Jeffrey Marker, Brooklyn NY
  140. Rabbi Susan Marks, New College of Florida, Sarasota FL
  141. Rabbi Noa Mazor, Jerusalem ISRAEL
  142. Mimi Micner, Rabbinical Student, Boston MA
  143. Rabbi Rim Meirowitz, Emeritus, Temple Shir Tikvah, Wayland MA
  144. Rabbi Abby Michaleski, Temple Beth El, Hammonton NJ
  145. Rabbi Tamara Miller, Temple Micah, Washington DC
  146. Rabbi Diana Miller, Kehillat HaNahar, New Hope PA
  147. Rabbi Kelilah Miller, Congregation Ohev Shalom, Philadelphia PA
  148. Rabbi David Mivasair, Ahavat Olam Synagogue, Vancouver BC
  149. Rabbi Linda Motzkin, Temple Sinai, Saratoga Springs, NY
  150. Rabbi Gray Myrseth, Kehilla Community Synagogue, San Francisco CA
  151. Rabbi Haviva Ner-David, Shmaya: A Mikveh for Mind, Body, and Soul, Hannaton ISRAEL
  152. Rabbi Dev Noily, Kehilla Community Synagogue, Oakland CA
  153. Rabbi David Paskin, Boca Raton FL
  154. Salem Pearce, Rabbinical Student, Hebrew College, New York NY
  155. Rabbi Barbara Penzner, Temple Hillel B’nai Torah, Boston MA
  156. Rabbi Robin Podolsky, Cal State Long Beach, Los Angeles CA
  157. Rabbi Marcia Prager, P’nai Or Jewish Renewal Congregation, Philadelphia PA
  158. Rabbi Arnold Rachlis, University Synagogue, Irvine CA
  159. Rabbi Tzipi Radonsky, The Society of the Vav, Beaufort SC
  160. Rabbi Jonah Rank, Shaar Shalom, Halifax, NS
  161. Rabbi Michael Ramberg, Philadelphia PA
  162. Rabbi Victor Reinstein, Nehar Shalom Community Synagogue, Jamaica Plain MA
  163. Mackenzie Reynolds, Rabbinical Student, Jew for Racial and Economic Justice, Brooklyn NY
  164. Rabbi Moti Rieber, Kansas Interfaith Action, Overland Park KS
  165. Lex Rofes, Rabbinical Student, Providence RI
  166. Rabbi Brant Rosen, Tzedek Chicago, Chicago IL
  167. Rabbi Derek Rosenbaum, CESJDS, Washington DC
  168. Rabbi Arielle Rosenberg, Shir Tikvah, Minneapolis MN
  169. Jessica Rosenberg, Rabbinical Student, Philadelphia PA
  170. Ken Rosenstein, Rabbinical Student, Boston MA
  171. Urit Rozenblit, Rabbinical Student, Poteach Shearim, Metula ISRAEL
  172. Rabbi Jeff Roth, Awakened Heart Project, New Paltz NY
  173. Rabbi Michael Rothbaum, Congregation Beth Elohim, Concord MA
  174. Rabbi Ruhi Sophia Rubenstein, Temple Beth Israel, Eugene OR
  175. Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben, Kehillat Israel, Pacific Palisades CA
  176. Rabbi Jonathan Rubenstein, Temple Sinai, Saratoga Springs NY
  177. Rabbi Michal Rubin, HaKerem of South Carolina, Columbia SC
  178. Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, Avodah, Evanston IL
  179. Rabbi Gila Ruskin, Temple Adas Shalom, Havre de Grace MD
  180. Rabbi Sonia Saltzman, Temple Ohabei Shalom, Brookline MA
  181. Rabbi Regina Sandler-Phillips, Brooklyn NY
  182. Rabbi Tamara Schagas, Jerusaelm ISRAEL
  183. Rabbi Susan Shamash, Vancouver BC
  184. Rabbi Jeffrey Schein, Minneapolis MN
  185. Rabbi Jeremy Schwartz, Temple Bnai Israel, Willimantic CT
  186. Rabbi Gerald Serotta, Chevy Chase MD
  187. Rabbi Drorah Setel, Temple Emanu-el, Rochester NY
  188. Rabbi Micah Shapiro, Philadelphia PA
  189. Rabbi Jeremy D. Sher, Ha-Emek: Honest, Inclusive, Progressive Judaism, Silicon Valley CA
  190. Jessica Shimberg, Rabbinical Student, The Little Minyan Kehilla, Columbus OH
  191. Rabbi David Shneyer, Am Kolel, Rockville MD
  192. Rabbi Hannah Tiferet Siegel, Hornby Island BC
  193. Rabbi Susan Silverman, Second Nurture, Jerusalem ISRAEL
  194. Rabbi Becky Silverstein, Pasadena CA
  195. Rabbi Suzanne Singer, Riverside Temple Beth El, Riverside CA
  196. Rabbi Ruth Sohn, Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles CA
  197. Rabbi Marc Soloway, Bonai Shalom, Boulder CO
  198. Rabbi Robin Sparr, Temple Emanuel, Lowell MA
  199. Rabbi Brent Spodek, Beacon Hebrew Alliance, Beacon NY
  200. Rabbi Toba Spitzer, Newton MA
  201. Rabbi Jacob Staub, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Philadelphia PA
  202. Rabbi David Stein, Premium Judaica Editorial Services, Culver City CA
  203. Rabbi Keith Stern, Temple Beth Avodah, Newton MA
  204. Rabbi Steve Stroiman, Philadelphiha PA
  205. Rabbi Shira Stutman, Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, Washington DC
  206. Rabbi Louis Sutker, Victoria BC
  207. Rabbi Elliott Tepperman, Bnai Keshet, Montclair NJ
  208. Rabbi Lennard Thal, New York NY
  209. Rabbi Barbara Thiede, Temple Or Olam, Concord NC
  210. Dena Trugman, Rabbinical Student, Hebrew College, Boston MA
  211. Rabbi David Vaisberg, Temple Emanu-El, Edison NJ
  212. Rabbi Andrew Vogel, Temple Sinai, Brookline MA
  213. Rabbi Brian Walt, West Tisbury MA
  214. Rabbi Arthur Waskow, The Shalom Center, Philadelphia PA
  215. Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Philadelphia PA
  216. Rabbi Elyse Wechterman, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, Philadelphia PA
  217. Rabbi Lucia Pizarro Wehlen, Jewish Liberation Theology Institute, Hamilton ON
  218. Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg, Philadelphia PA
  219. Rabbi Simkha Weintraub, Brooklyn NY
  220. Rabbi Michal Woll, Congregation Shir Hadash, Milwaukee WI
  221. Rabbi Ora Weiss, Boston MA
  222. Rabbi Rachel Weiss, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, Evanston IL
  223. Rabbi Raysh Weiss, Shaar Shalom Synagogue, Halifax NS
  224. Rabbi Zari Weiss, Kol NaNeshama, Seattle WA
  225. Rabbi Ariann Weitzman, Bnai Keshet Reconstructionist Synagogue, Montclair NJ
  226. Rabbi Nancy Wiener, New York NY
  227. Rabbi Joseph Wolf, Havurah Shalom, Portland OR
  228. Nora Woods, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Philadelphia PA
  229. May Ye, Rabbinical Student, Kol Tzedek, Philadelphia PA
  230. Rabbi Barbara Zacky, Santa Monica CA
  231. Rabbi David Zaslow, Havurah Shir Hadash, Ashland OR
  232. Rabbi Shawn Zevit, Mishkan Shalom, Philadelphia PA
  233. Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman, Congregation Shaarei Shamayim, Madison WI
  234. Rabbi Michael Zimmerman, Congregation Kehillat Israel, Lansing MI