Today is February 19, 2019 -
Among the many worthwhile organizations that our Federation supports locally and around the world is the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS). HIAS was founded in 1881, and today “HIAS works around the world to protect refugees who have been forced to flee their homelands because of who they are, including ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities. For more than 130 years, HIAS has been helping refugees rebuild their lives in safety and dignity.”
Today, we are not seeing the influx of Jews to our country like we did as recently as 25 years ago, during the height of the immigration of Soviet Jews. Consequently, HIAS has been using the following tag line, “We Used to Take Refugees Because They Were Jewish. Now We Take Them Because We’re Jewish.”
Jews are not native to the U.S., so we know that HIAS has been somehow involved with nearly every one of our families. Judaism teaches to welcome the stranger, and our people certainly know what it’s like not to be welcomed. I, therefore, think that with all of the recent domestic developments, most Jews seem to be having the hardest time with the new immigration ban.
I’ve invited HIAS to send a representative to speak with us about the ban and its work. They’ve accepted, and we are looking at dates later this month. We’ll get you the details when we have them.
Shabbat shalom from the Holy Land.