San Diego Jewish community comes together to help refugees

SAN DIEGO – Hundreds of people from the Jewish Community packed into the Temple Emanu-El Wednesday night for a forum on helping refugees.

“We have our Muslim friends with us tonight and we need to not let fear drive us. We have to stand strong and stay together,” said Tammie Gillies of Anti-Defamation League of San Diego.

The forum comes as President Donald Trump signed a revised executive order. The new order closes the doors on immigrants from six select countries and bans refugees for 90 days.

“The meaning behind it is still the same. We still look at it as a Muslim ban and that is just not acceptable to us in the Jewish community,” said Gillies.

A community that finds itself under tense times, Jewish community centers across the countries are under threat. The most recent case came Wednesday as the Jewish Community Center in La Jolla received its fourth bomb threat since January.

“Anti-Semitism is at a level we haven’t seen in years,” said Gillies. “I’ve been doing this for 10 years and this is the worst I’ve ever seen it, so it’s a challenging time.”

A challenge aside and under high security, the community is putting their fears aside to help those fleeing from war and persecution.

“We’re the Jewish community tonight and we have our Muslim friends with us tonight and we need to not let fear drive us. We have to stand strong and stay together,” said Gillies.

“We were once refugees ourselves,” said Rhonda Schwartz, synagogue member. “Unless we do pull together and make everybody feel safe, we can’t really move forward.”