SILVER SPRING, Md.–HIAS, the global Jewish movement that protects refugees, is sponsoring a National Refugee Shabbat, a series of weekend-long events in Jewish congregations across the country on Oct. 19 and 20. The parshah (Torah portion) for this Shabbat is Lech Lecha, which describes the beginning of the experience of wandering in search of freedom for the Jewish people. According to organizers, this makes it an opportunity to review today’s global refugee crisis, connect with the Jewish movement for refugees, commit (or recommit) to taking action, and celebrate congregations’ achievements in working with refugees and to launch new efforts.
In announcing National Refugee Shabbat, HIAS issued the following statement:
“We are witnesses to one of the largest humanitarian crises in human history. There are now more than 65 million people who have fled their homes due to persecution and violence. And, yet, in this moment of unprecedented need, our government is grinding the U.S. refugee admissions program to a halt and cutting humanitarian aid.
“The Jewish movement for refugees in the U.S. has grown exponentially since 2015, with individuals, congregations and organizations volunteering, raising awareness and advocating for refugees around the country and the world. The involvement of our community has made a difference. This is a moment when we must give voice to our values as Jews and as Americans and stand up for the safety and the lives of people around the world.”