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Why Congregation B’nai Jehudah supports refugees

The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah loves refugees. We are committed to supporting refugees resettled in the Kansas City area, to educating the Jewish and general community about refugee resettlement, and to advocating to advance the cause of refugee resettlement and support in Kansas City and the United States.

We hold the firm conviction that this is our Jewish moral obligation. The Babylonian Talmud (Bava Metzia 36a), the Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 228:2), and the Torah itself over and over again insist that we bear a responsibility to support the most vulnerable members of our society. And besides the Jewish value of loving the stranger as God does (Deuteronomy 10:18-19), we also bear deep Jewish memories of both the sting of being turned away and the blessed relief of being welcomed in when we have sought refuge. Both our values and our history compel us to act.

Are risks involved in resettling refugees? Yes. Is the work hard, costly and time-consuming? Absolutely. But those are the inevitable side effects of a powerful and counter-cultural ethical commitment. We at B’nai Jehudah are open to honest discussion considering all angles on this issue, and we invite all those who are interested in dialogue to reach out with comments and questions. We’ve drawn great inspiration from Jewish wisdom throughout the ages and turn to one another for continued learning and growth.

So far this year, B’nai Jehudah has conducted a coat drive for refugees, hosted a community forum on the issue of refugee resettlement, and thrown a birthday party for the children of recently resettled refugee families. We are proud of members of the entire Kansas City Jewish community who have expressed their support, and we are eager to continue to collaborate with Jewish Vocational Services and any other individuals or groups interested in working together on this important Jewish cause. For more information, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Daniel Kirzane

Overland Park, Kansas

Muslims need to solve Muslim problems

There is no systematic, state-sponsored campaign of anti-Muslim persecution in Muslim countries, so analogies to the systematic, state-sponsored campaign of anti-Jewish persecution and genocide in mid-20th century Europe are invalid. Jews were murdered solely because they were Jews.

The Jews of Europe did not have over 50 Jewish countries — as do Muslims — to turn to for culturally-similar refuge. Many of these countries chased out or killed virtually every one of their Jew or Christian citizens. Muslims, not Americans, are responsible for throwing so many lives into chaos. Only Muslims can solve the problems that created 1,000 years of ongoing fratricidal wars in the Muslim world.

Julia Lutch

Davis, California

Two wrongs don’t make a right

In his Feb. 9 letter (Muslim countries should welcome their own refugees), Lee Levin seeks “non-pejorative direct answers” to questions he raises about why Jews should assist Muslim refugees. I offer two non-pejorative direct answers, in the form of questions. First, since when do two wrongs make a right? Second, if Muslims are pricked, do they not, like we Jews, bleed?

Rabbi Harry “Scott” White

Kansas City, Missouri