WHAT YOU CAN DO
WJCI strives to educate and mobilize our community about the issues facing asylum seekers, undocumented immigrants, and refugees.
The Refugee Leadership Development Program provides monthly workshops to refugee and immigrant organizers across the United States. Led by refugees for refugees, this training series is an opportunity to learn more about advocacy tactics being used to advance pro-refugee / pro-immigrant policy on the state and national level, story-telling and narrative shifting, and connecting with resources and local networks to build more welcoming and inclusive communities.
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WJCI & CLERGY: WORKING TOGETHER
Because of our experiences as Jews, we are sensitive to immigration issues and immigrants' presence in our communities. The Torah itself is explicit in Exodus, "You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt".
Here are a few ways Rabbis, Cantors, and congregations can be involved in our work:
Attend WJCI's quarterly informational meetings to talk and learn about current immigration initiatives to help immigrants live better lives.
Speak from the pulpit about immigration issues of utmost importance, tying them into Jewish liturgy on occasions like Refugee Shabbat.
Bring refugees, resettlement workers, and Holocaust survivors to speak to congregants. Contact email@example.com for further information.
Encourage your synagogue's youth and college students to get involved in making our community a more welcoming place.
Join Bet Am Shalom, Congregation Kol Ami, Hebrew Institute of White Plains, Shaarei Tikvah of Scarsdale, and Temple Israel Center of White Plains in the Westchester Right to Counsel Coalition to protect immigrants’ right to fair housing.
Push out initiatives through your synagogue’s social action committee
Book speakers for synagogues including refugees, immigration experts, etc.
Show your support for local families by assisting Westchester-based organizations to advocate for their clients such as Community Resource Center
Hold multi-faith events at your synagogue
Run a social media campaign for an immigration issue you support
Execute online petitions, social media campaigns, phone-a-thons, postcard writing events (virtual/in-person), rallies, and marches
Conduct educational online and virtual events about issues you support such as Right to Counsel or the Border Crisis
Create refugee-friendly/welcoming neighborhoods
Action Changes Things
Actions you can take to help local immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees.
General: If you know housing resources or want to be a resource for future needs, please contact Laura Lewis, firstname.lastname@example.org
ACTions will be listed on the website for one month. If you would like your ACTion to remain longer or to request an ACTion be listed below or in the WJCI newsletter, please contact Amy Ecker at Amy@wjci.org. Deadline: First Friday of each month.
1. HIAS and T'ruah invite you to be part of a powerful, intensive project to support Afghan refugees here in the United States called the HIAS Welcome Circles. While resettling a family as a HIAS Welcome Circle is a major undertaking, it comes with a profound, personal, and tangible impact. To learn more and express interest in the project, please use this interest form.
Note: While HIAS Welcome Circles perform very similar functions to WJCI's Host Groups they are for those communities that do not have HIAS affiliates within 100 miles.
3. HIAS is looking for compassionate Spanish-speaking volunteers to provide (remote) support to asylum seekers at the U.S./Mexico border. HIAS will train you. This is an online opportunity and can be done from anywhere. Sign up here,
Proyecto Faro's legal clinic is looking for a lawyer to volunteer to do court work for two SIJS cases (Special Juvenile Immigrant Status). Lawyer will work with a thorough and experienced paralegal who does the document work but a lawyer is needed to represent these two cases in court. Contact Anna Shalom at email@example.com
Refugee Council USA (RCUSA) Annual Virtual Advocacy Week May 9th - May 13th, 2022. Join community members, advocates, faith leaders, resettlement agencies, and others to advocate for pro-refugee legislation, support for arriving Afghans, and federal funding for resettlement and other humanitarian programs. There will also be special programming on how to build relationships with other advocates and to learn new advocacy skills. Register here.
Ruth’s Refuge is furnishing homes for SEVEN refugee and asylum seekers. The families are from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Haiti, Venezuela, and Jamaica. You can help welcome these families by purchasing needed household items. Visit the Amazon Wish List here or the Target Wish List here. Contact: Leah Cover firstname.lastname@example.org
Employment Leads and Contacts Needed
UPDATED 4.4.2022 Have employment leads? Looking to hire? Visit here to see if you may be able to help any of the currently resettling refugees listed. Please contact Gene Tozzi, at email@example.com, or the listed contact. Gene is the employment committee chair for the Interfaith Council for New Americans in Westchester, and Hearts and Homes for Refugees.
Click on below for more information
Did you know that while there were approximately 26 million refugees worldwide as of fiscal year (FY) 2020, the U.S. currently resettles just a small fraction of them. Less than 1 percent of the total number of displaced people on the world has been resettled to one of 37 current resettlement countries each year. Learn more here. (National Immigration Forum)
Print the WJCI one-pager here.
Informational Reads & Human Interest Stories (Find additional and earlier reading recommendations here.)
Perspective | A Jewish girl was saved by a Ukrainian family during World War II. Now her grandchildren are returning the favor. Daniella Greenbaum, The Washington Post, 3/12/22
Ukrainian orphans en route to Scotland after landing in UK, Tom Ambrose, The Guardian, 3/23/22
'Things Will Only Get Worse' Putin's War Sends Russians Into Exile. Anton Troianovski and Patrick Kingsley, NY Times, 3/14/22
Ukraine's Only Woman Rabbi Among the Many Jews Fleeing War, Vanessa Gera, Associated Press, 3/13/22
19 NY Rabbis Head to Poland to Distribute Food, Medical Aid to Ukrainian Refugees, Julia Gergely, Times of Israel, 3/12/22
Harvard Teens Made a Website Matching Ukrainian Refugees With People Offering Places to Stay Cathy Free, Washington Post, 3/10/22
Jewish New Yorkers Unite to Raise Millions for Ukraine, Liam Stack, NY Times, 3/4/22