Rabbis protest immigration policies outside Trump Tower

Rabbis gathered outside Trump Tower on Oct. 9, 2017, and put up a sukkah. Photo Credit: Louis Lanzano

About two dozen rabbis from throughout New York City erected a temporary dwelling called a sukkah outside Trump Tower Monday and called on President Donald Trump to offer “shelter” and “refuge” to immigrants.

The rabbis, some of them immigrants, held up signs that included messages such as “My father was a Syrian refugee” and “You shall love the immigrant.”

A sukkah is 6-foot-tall structure with fabric walls and a bamboo roof. The group kept it up for about 45 minutes while they demonstrated.


Rabbi Jill Jacobs said the symbolic structure represents fragility and community.

“What keeps us strong in America is our community and the people who come here,” she said at the demonstration.

The peaceful demonstration occurred hours after the Trump administration released an immigration wish list Sunday night that includes funding for a border wall, which Democrats have said they will not support.

Some Democrats also said the proposal would derail a possible deal to renew the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program that offers protected status to nearly 800,000 students and young adults brought to the United States as minors

“Rabbis coming together to build this sacred structure during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot is intended to protest the Trump administration’s inhumane immigration policies,” said Jacobs, executive director of T’ruah, a coalition of 1,800 U.S. rabbis who focus on human rights activism.

The Biblical Jewish holiday of Sukkot signals the end of harvest time and the agricultural year in Israel and commemorates the sheltering of the Israelites in the wilderness, organizers said in a news release.