A Statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day and it’s another opportunity to recognize the Shoah and the survivors still with us. We have gotten to know some survivors living in San Diego recently, and we treasure their stories and resilience.
In 1938, Gallup polled Americans “Should we allow a larger number of Jewish exiles from Germany to come to the US?” and 72% said no. In 1939 the US turned away the St. Louis, a ship carrying 900 Jews — and 254 of them ended up dying in Auschwitz and other camps. Today, we recognize this as a moral failure.

The callousness directed towards the Syrian refugee community and the willingness to turn our backs is and will be our moral failure. It is not hard to see Anne Frank in the faces of the Syrian children who now call San Diego their home.
Lee and Toni Leichtag were children of Jewish refugees. Their families were certainly viewed at some time with similar suspicions and fears. They left 98% of their wealth to their community — providing services and support for Jews, yes, but also military families, minorities, immigrants, poor, working poor, elderly, single mothers, and so much more.
We hold ourselves to the standard of a “catchy slogan” from another time: Never Again. We condemn any ban on the Syrian refugee community, who are victims of a war they never asked for. Shabbat shalom.



A Twitter Tribute to Holocaust Victims: A new social-media project commemorates refugees turned away by the United States in 1939. THE ATLANTIC.