MEAICA Statement on Executive Order on Refugees

Statement on President Trump’s Executive Order on Refugees. February 1 2017.

We, the clergy of the Metuchen Edison Area Interfaith Clergy Association (MEAICA), denounce President Trump’s Executive Order of January 27, 2017, to bar all refugees of other countries from entering the United States by suspending the U.S. Refugee Admission Program and to ban all immigrants and non-immigrants who are citizens of certain Muslim-majority nations from entering the U.S.

We as faith community leaders find it repugnant to block entry to persecuted people who have come to America for refuge and safety, whose lives are in danger, who are vetted and deemed apt for entry to the U.S. and who are now rejected on the basis of their religious beliefs.  Our shared Abrahamic faith traditions and sacred literature emphasize the importance of respect for our fellow human beings— of honoring their dignity and of doing all that we can to ensure that all people can live free of fear and oppression and thrive.

We therefore come together in stating that discriminating against any group based on religious belief and ethnic background is abhorrent, unholy, and un-American.

We call upon the Trump Administration to rescind this open-ended and over-reaching order so that families can be reunited and that our nation’s place in the world as a beacon of light, a leader in compassion, and a refuge for fellow human beings can be restored.

May we all be reminded of the words of Leviticus 19:34, “You shall love the stranger as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt,” from the Gospel of Matthew 25:35  “I was a stranger and you welcomed me,” and from the Qur’an 5:8 “Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear God; indeed, God is well aware of what you do.”  May we all remember what it is to be the outside, may we all find love for each other, and may the heart of our nation open up once again to all those suffering who come to America in need.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”  – Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus, inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty.


Rabbi David Z. Vaisberg, President; Temple Emanu-El

Rev. Anna Thomas, Vice President; Centenary United Methodist Church

Rev. Ellen Clark Clémot, Treasurer and Secretary; First Presbyterian Church of Metuchen

Rev. Elizabeth Alexander, Oak Tree Presbyterian Church

Rev. Edmund Zelley, Community Chair; St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

Rev. Chuck Coblentz, New Dover United Methodist Church

Rev. Justin Karmann, First Presbyterian Church of Metuchen

Rev. Jill Hedlund Kitzko, Chaplain

Hazzan Sheldon Levin, Congregation Neve Shalom

Rev. Dr. Kenneth K. Macari, Honorably Retired, Presbytery of Elizabeth

Cantor Aviva Marer, Temple Emanu-El

Rev. Dr. Ronald L. Owens, New Hope Baptist Church

Rabbi Eric M. Rosin, Congregation Neve Shalom

Rabbi Ari Saks, Congregation Beth Mordecai

Rev. Peter Sanfilippo, Reformed Church of Metuchen

Imam Nizam Ahmad Raouf Zaman, Muslim Center of Middlesex County

Rabbi Gerald Zelizer

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davidzvaisberg Written by:

David Vaisberg, originally from Montreal and Mississauga, Canada, serves as Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El of Edison, NJ and lives in Metuchen, NJ with his family.


  1. Rev. Elizabeth Alexander
    February 1, 2017

    Please add me to the list of signatures on your letter regarding the Executive Order on refugees. I am the Temporary Pastor of the Oak Tree Presbyterian Church of Edison, NJ.

    • davidzvaisberg
      February 3, 2017

      Absolutely. Should we put you on the email list? Would you like to join us for our regular meetings?

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