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Proposal on Sanctuary

As updated at November 22, 2016 Board meeting and approved unanimously by the Board at that meeting

Prepared by Julie Litwin (Immigration Committee) Marjorie Cox (Board) and Rabbi Dev Noily


In 1985 Kehilla Community Synagogue declared itself a Sanctuary Congregation and became an active member of the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, a network of faith communities engaged in helping refugees escape death squads in El Salvador.

Kehilla has continuously supported the rights and dignity of immigrants, especially when their vulnerability in their home countries has been a direct result of U.S. economic and military policy.


We endorse and adopt this pledge, being circulated among faith communities nationwide:

As people of faith and people of conscience, we pledge to resist the newly elected administration’s policy proposals to target and deport millions of undocumented immigrants and discriminate against marginalized communities. We will open up our congregations and communities as sanctuary spaces for those targeted by hate, and work alongside our friends, families, and neighbors to ensure the dignity and human rights of all people.

— Groundswell, Rev. Alison Harrington

We understand  “Sanctuary” in this way:

As a Sanctuary Congregation we will continue working with the broader Sanctuary movement to do any or all of the following:

  • Bring attention to the moral imperative to stop deportations;
  • Advocate for local and federal policies and practices that minimize deportations, and respect the human rights and dignity of immigrants;
  • Stay connected with local organizations we’re already working with, including the East Bay Interfaith Immigration Coalition, Oakland Community Organizations, Nueva Esperanza/Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, Jewish Family & Community Services of the East Bay and others;
  • Continue to work through our Economic Justice Committee, Immigration Committee, Accompaniment Teams, etc., to support and defend immigrants and their rights;
  • Support local work to defend Sanctuary Cities or local detainer policies and push back against unjust enforcement, including support efforts for the city of Piedmont to become a Sanctuary City;
  • Facilitate providing legal assistance, housing assistance, family support and bail support funds;
  • Encourage and support Kehilla members who offer housing to immigrants, refugees and those facing deportation;
  • Resist criminalization of immigrants;
  • Explore the feasibility of offering Kehilla’s space as emergency or temporary housing for immigrants, and/or as a physical sanctuary for people facing deportation.

The Immigration Committee’s next meeting is on January 11th, 2017 at 7pm in the Fireside Room. Contact  with any questions.


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