A group of rabbis, cantors and Jewish activists were arrested Monday night while protesting President Donald Trump’s executive order restricting immigration.
About 200 Jewish religious leaders and activists marched through the Upper West Side of Manhattan to Trump International Hotel and Tower on Columbus Circle. More than a dozen of the demonstrators staged a sit-in and blocked traffic. After multiple warnings from the New York Police Department, officers said, 19 protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct.
The march was organized by the rabbinical group T’ruah, a network of some 1,800 rabbis and cantors whose mission is to protect and advance human rights for all people.
The organization went live on its Facebook page to film the march. A T’ruah member narrating the organization’s said the group was marching “to make a statement that all refugees, immigrants and Muslims are welcome here.” He added, “This refugee ban and Muslim ban and any other action taken to target these communities is wrong and hateful and hurtful.”
Demonstrators sang, played guitar, banged drums and chanted lines including, “No fear. Refugees are welcome here,” as they marched from West 88th Street to West 61st Street. Many protesters held signs with similar messages and wore buttons that read, “My people were refugees too.”
In an interview with the New York Times, Rabbi Jill Jacobs, the executive director of T’ruah, said, “We remember our history, and we remember that the borders of this country closed to us in 1924 with very catastrophic consequences during the Holocaust.” According to the organization’s Facebook Live video, Jacobs was one of the rabbis arrested.
Protesters who did not participate in the sit-in and stayed on the side of the street chanted, “That’s my rabbi!” while police made arrests.