20 April 2016 - 'End indefinite asylum detention' - Jewish community leads interfaith call to MPs
This Pesach, Jewish human rights charity René Cassin and Tzelem - the Rabbinic Call for Social and Economic Justice are bringing together Jewish, Muslim and Christian community leaders and clergy in Parliament to call for reform of the immigration detention system.
The UK is currently the only country in the EU that does not have a time limit on how long individuals can be held in detention centres. In 2015, a cross-party Parliamentary Inquiry into Immigration Detention labelled the current system ‘expensive, ineffective and unjust.’3 The event coincides with the Immigration Bill returning to the House of Commons with amendments aimed at limiting how long vulnerable people can be held in detention centres.
The event will see MPs, Bishops, Imams and Rabbis addressing the issue and will feature a number of people who have been in detention themselves.
Mia Hasenson-Gross, director of René Cassin, said:
“It is inspiring to see MPs from across the political spectrum and faith leaders from across civil society coming together to rally against a policy that wastes money, exacerbates mental health problems and has cost the lives of vulnerable people.”
Ajay, a member of Freed Voices, who are experts by experience on detention, said:
"If detention is an earthquake, its ripples affect everyone – individuals, families, communities, taxpayers, everyone. Please, no more earthquakes. It’s time for you - MPs and faith leaders - to take action."
Rabbi Hershel Gluck, member of Tzelem, said:
“G-d in the Torah constantly instructs us to be Just and to pursue Justice. The Torah emphasizes the dignity of every Human Being; And reminds us of the injustice done to us, so therefore we have a special ability to empathize with those suffering from injustice, and a special duty to correct it.”
Emeritus Archbishop Kevin McDonald, from the Caritas Social Action Network, said:
"Whether we are followers of Judaism or Christianity, we all have a responsibility to protect, welcome and support migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, as if they were our own. Together as individuals, groups and leaders of faith, we gathered at the Rene Cassin event on detention in recognition of this shared responsibility, to highlight the need for a fair and humane asylum system.”
For further information or comment, contact Sam Grant, via or 020 7443 5131 or 07514 239 264
21 Sept. 2015 - Kindertransport Survivors and over 100 Rabbis to ask Cameron to step up support for refugees
Two child refugees, Mr Ernest Simon (Kindertransport, born Vienna 1930) and Rabbi Harry Jacobi (unaccompanied child refugee in May 1940, born Berlin 1925) will join a delegation of Rabbis when they hand in a letter to Prime Minister Cameron at Ten Downing Street on Monday morning.
The letter, signed by 105 Rabbis and Cantors from across the Jewish community, asks Mr Cameron to take the story of the Kinderstransport as his inspiration in responding to the refugee crisis, calling it “the light of human kindness that shines into the darkest corners of history”, and asks that ten thousand refugees at the minimum be offered asylum into Great Britain in the next six months.
The Rabbis also call on the government to re examine the current UK asylum practise in order to deliver a long term solution, and to help integrate refugees into the workforce so that they will be able to provide for themselves rather than be dependant on charitable handouts, pointing outhat the highest form of charity is to enable the needy person to become self sufficient.
The Rabbis offer the government their dedicated support in helping with the refugees, offering to help in the effort to find homes, to raise funds for food, clothing and education, and to support a decision of moral courage.
Notes for Journalists
Click here for a copy of the letter and its signatories
Click here for a biography of Rabbi Harry Jacobi and for his story of escape and suffering in his own words
Click here for a biography of Mr Ernest Simon
Visit to learn more about how to get involved
Photographs of the handing in of the letter can be found here
The delegation will consist of Rabbi Dr Harry Jacobi, Mr Ernest Simon, Rabbi Natan Levy, Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Rabbi Meir Salsnik and Rabbi Sybil Sheridan