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Dr. Julia Paley



People sitting side-by-side on international flights. Children sleeping near each other in bunkbeds. Employees coughing in their workplaces. Individuals not washing their hands. Groups of more than 50 congregating in an enclosed place.

All of these behaviors are precisely what not to do during a pandemic, when social distancing is vital to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Yet not only are these things happening, they are being done by the federal government as part of its ongoing crackdown on immigrant communities in the United States. As the world goes into lockdown to...

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Blurry image of a teenage boy with his hand at a metal fence

As we gather around our seder tables this year, we will reflect on our people’s liberation from the degradation of slavery in Egypt.

We recall with gratitude that many of our more immediate ancestors – or we ourselves – were offered refuge from persecution by the United States and Canada, while knowing that some in our community have also experienced the pain of discrimination in North America.

If we are to heed the call of freedom that Passover offers us, we must not close our eyes to the degradation currently taking place right outside our door.

Even before the...

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Woman holding "love our neighbors" sign

As part of the Kraus Initiative for Immigrant and Refugee Justice, the Reform Jewish Movement is working to be in solidarity with asylum seekers and restore the asylum system. In partnership with Jewish and interfaith groups, we aim to advance legislation that will safeguard fundamental rights. During this season, we as a movement have the opportunity to educate ourselves, our congregations, and our communities in the importance of asylum and ways to support people seeking refuge.

Along with leaders from the Reform Jewish Movement, I have seen the need for this work up close in a...

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Julia Paley in Mexico

RAC Immigration Justice Director Dr. Julia Paley in Juarez, Mexico with URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs and Imam Omar Suleiman

It was unforgettable. A little boy living in a refugee camp, essentially in exile. In a place prone to kidnappings and murders, and in a shelter with inadequate resources and supplies.

Most striking were the circumstances: The child was an American citizen, and the shelter he resided in located just a few miles from the United States.

Why, then, was he not living in his own country?

This is the distorted result of Remain in Mexico –...

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Sign reading WE ARE ALL IMMIGRANTS alongside a yellow Star of David

It's easy to feel helpless in the face of the Trump administration's accelerating crackdown on undocumented immigrants living in the United States and crossing the southern border. As Reform Jews, we know that inaction is not an option.

Jewish tradition places great importance on just treatment of immigrants; our faith demands of us concern for the stranger in our midst in at least 36 ways. Leviticus commands, “When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do them wrong. The stranger who...

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