Arthur Waskow protesting at the ICE headquarters in Philadelphia with ElderWitness and Friends. by the Forward

86-Year-Old Rabbi Arrested Protesting ICE

Image by Arthur Waskow

Rabbi Arthur Waskow was arrested on Wednesday for blocking the entrance to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters in Philadelphia in protest of President Trump’s border policies.

Waskow, one of the founders of the Jewish Renewal movement, was demonstrating with the group ElderWitness and Friends, Public News Service reported. Around 100 people were present at the protest, many of whom wore Statue of Liberty costumes and held signs criticizing the detention of immigrant children and the separation of families at the United States-Mexico border.

Waskow, his partner Rabbi Phyllis Berman and two others were arrested by the Federal Department of Homeland Security police and charged with two federal offenses, Waskow confirmed to the Forward in an email. They face fines and potentially prison time.

Waskow, who is in his late 80s, was arrested in the same spot last year, also protesting ICE and the Trump administration’s border policies.

While Berman is on the EldersWitness steering committee, she and Waskow participated in the demonstration as rabbis.

“Our arrests also are for us, connected with a major wave of Jewish protests, including arrests, that swept across the country on or about Tisha B’Av in August,” Waskow wrote, referring to the Never Again Action movement. “I believe they were the first such event in American Jewish history, when a large segment of the Jewish community publicly and vigorously opposed a major policy priority of the US government. That did not happen, for example, in response to the Vietnam War.”

Alyssa Fisher is a writer at the Forward. Email her at, or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher


86-Year-Old Rabbi Arthur Waskow Arrested Protesting ICE

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86-Year-Old Rabbi Arrested Protesting ICE

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