UPDATED: Texas Rabbis Write in Support of Welcoming Refugees

As of September 29, 2016, 70 rabbis have jointly signed on to the following letter in response to news that Governor Greg Abbott was seeking to withdraw the state of Texas from the U.S. Refugee Admissions program.

Dear Governor Abbott,

We, Rabbis from across Texas, urge you to continue to welcome refugees and not withdraw from the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. At this moment, with the number of refugees and displaced persons at its highest in recorded history, it is more important than ever for Texas to protect and welcome refugees.

Since its founding, the United States has offered refuge and protection to the world’s most vulnerable. Time and time again, those refugees were Jews. Whether they were welcomed to Texas by the "Galveston Movement" after fleeing Czarist Russia, or whether they came later following the horrors of the Holocaust, or the persecution in Soviet Russia or Iran, our relatives and friends found safety in this country, and in the great state of Texas. 

Refugees in Texas are taxpayers, consumers, business owners, and leaders in a broad range of industries across the state. It is imperative that refugees in Texas continue to be fully welcome and supported in their new homes and that they receive the critical health and social services promised to them.

As Rabbis, we believe that every life is sacred, and every person is created in the image of God. Our biblical tradition teaches us to “welcome the stranger” with compassion, and to care for those in need. We strongly support refugee resettlement in our local communities, and we call on you to uphold the legacy of a country and state that welcomes refugees.


Rabbi Jeffrey Abraham, San Antonio

Rabbi Daniel Aronson, Houston

Cantor Devorah Avery, Dallas

Rabbi Lev Baesh, Austin

Rabbi Kerry Baker, Austin

Rabbi Anne Belford, Houston

Hazzan Yitzhak Ben-Moshe, Austin

Rabbi Matthew Berger, The Woodlands

Rabbi Jan Brahma, The Woodlands

Rabbi Amy Cohen, Austin

Rabbi Kathryn Cook, Austin

Rabbi Heidi Coretz, Dallas

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, Colleyville

Rabbi Barry Diamond, Dallas

Rabbi Rebecca Epstein, Austin

Rabbi Gideon Estes, Houston

Rabbi Steven Folberg, Austin

Rabbi Alan Freedman, Austin

Rabbi Barry Gelman, Houston

Cantor Vicky Glikin, Dallas

Rabbi Michael Goldstein, Houston

Rabbi Dan Gordon, Houston

Rabbi Steven Gross, Houston

Rabbi David Gruber, Frisco

Rabbi Laura Harari, Waco

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss, Houston

Rabbi Oren Hayon, Houston

Rabbi Kimberly Herzog Cohen, Dallas

Rabbi Daniel Horwitz, Houston

Rabbi Frank Joseph, Irving

Rabbi Samantha Kahn, Houston

Rabbi Nancy Kasten, Dallas

Rabbi Neal Katz, Tyler

Rabbi Marshal Klaven, Galveston

Rabbi Claudio Kogan, McAllen

Rabbi Dr. Shira Lander, Dallas

Rabbi Jill Levy, Houston

Rabbi Sue Levy, Houston

Rabbi Susan Lippe, Austin

Rabbi Joshua Lobel, Missouri City

Rabbi Emeritus Ralph Mecklenburger, Fort Worth

Rabbi Andrew Paley, Dallas

Rabbi Rebecca Reice, Austin

Rabbi Debra Robbins, Dallas

Rabbi Adam Roffman, Dallas

Rabbi Samuel Rose, Austin

Rabbi David Rosen, Houston

Rabbi Matt Rosenberg, College Station

Rabbi Amy Ross, Dallas

Rabbi Samantha Safran, Houston

Rabbi Deborah Schloss, Houston

Rabbi Robert Sharff, Spring

Rabbi Laura Sheinkopf, Houston

Rabbi Cantor Robbi Sherwin, Austin

Rabbi Pamela Silk, Houston

Rabbi Samuel Stahl, San Antonio

Rabbi Seth Stander, Houston

Rabbi David Stern, Dallas

Rabbi Benjamin Sternman, Plano

Rabbi Brian Strauss, Houston

Rabbi Joshua Taub, Beaumont

Rabbi Ranon Teller, Bellaire

Rabbi Mark Urkowitz, Houston

Rabbi Daniel Utley, Dallas

Rabbi Shira Wallach, Dallas

Rabbi Stefan Weinberg, Plano

Rabbi Kenny Weiss, Houston

Rabbi Benjamin Zeidman, El Paso

Rabbi Elana Zelony, Richardson

Rabbi Brian Zimmerman, Fort Worth

If you are a rabbi in Texas and would like to add your name, please email HIAS Director of Campaigns Rebecca Kirzner: rebecca.kirzner@hias.org  

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