WHAT YOU CAN DO
WJCI strives to educate and mobilize our community about the issues facing asylum seekers, undocumented immigrants, and refugees.
Save the date! In a month WJCI will be present at the 46th Annual Westchester Jewish Music & Arts Festival at Kensico Dam in White Plains. Come find us alongside our partners and the event's sponsors, UJA-Federation of New York, Westchester Jewish Council, and Temple Shaaray Tefila of Westchester! Check out more details here.
Join WJCI and Concerts in Motion on August 26th from 2-3 PM EST on Zoom for a virtual concert celebrating Ukrainian music and culture for newly arrived Ukrainian refugees. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Refugee Shabbat 2023 will take place on February 3 and 4. It is a moment for congregations, organizations, and individuals in the United States and around the world to dedicate a Shabbat experience to refugees and asylum seekers.
The fastest-growing European refugee crisis since World War II is still ongoing. People seeking asylum are being turned away at borders around the world. And this year, for the first time ever, the total number of displaced persons globally is over 100 million. This is a critical moment for all of us to reaffirm and redouble our support for refugees and asylum seekers. Learn more and sign up to participate here.
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.
Missed a Live Event? Catch Up On Our YouTube Channel
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.
If you know housing resources or want to be a resource for future needs, please contact Marti Michael. 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 Holly Rosen Fink. Deadline: first Friday of each month.
The Community Wardrobe, a joint effort of the Horsemen PTA, the Village of Sleepy Hollow, and the Shames JCC, is an initiative that finds new homes for good clothes. It is free to locals who need them. The Wardrobe is now located at Shames JCC, 371 South Broadway in Tarrytown, NY. Clients can come by appointment only to find free clothes and shoes for the whole family.
Ruth’s Refuge is furnishing homes for seven refugee and asylum seekers. Here are some ways to get involved:
Employment Leads and Contacts Needed
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 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.
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)
ARTICLES AND HUMAN INTEREST STORIES
US Admits 100,000 Ukrainians in 5 months, Fulfilling Biden Pledge, Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS News, 7.29.22
Volunteers Come to Help Ukrainians From Far and Wide, Betsy Joles, HIAS, 7. 25.22
How Russia’s War is Undoing 30 Years of Jewish Community Building in Ukraine, Cnaan Liphshiz, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 7. 20.22
They Fled Danger for New York. When Will Their New Lives Begin?, Lauren Hilgers, The NY Times, 6.2.22
Here's How We Can Help 100,000 Ukrainian Refugees, Elana Broitman, Jewish News Syndicate 5.27.22
The Afghan Man You Need to Know Works for HIAS Partner in Pittsburgh, Dan Friedman, HIAS, 4.19.22