WJCI strives to educate our community about the issues facing asylum seekers, undocumented immigrants, and refugees.
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Tuesday, 1/18 7:00-8:00 pm - Forming a Host Group
Featuring Jmel Wilson, Vice-President and Director Neighbors for Refugees
Tuesday, 1/18 8:15-9:15 pm - Connecting Refugees to Services
Featuring Ashley Makar, Cosponsorship Developer,
IRIS (Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services)
Wednesday, 1/19 7:00-8:00 pm - Fundraising for Refugee Resettlement
Featuring Kailee Brenna, who spearheaded a nation-wide campaign to recruit more citizens to volunteer as refugee sponsors, and coordinated a large refugee sponsorship group that has welcomed 11 families from both Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 2016, will present the world of digital fundraising as it applies to refugee resettlement, and Margo Golos, Former Development Director of the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires.
Thursday, 1/20 7:00-8:00 pm - Stepping Up During the Pandemic to Save Lives
(This seminar will NOT be recorded)
Featuring Hope Williams from USAid (United States Agency for International Development)
Refugee Shabbat 2022/5782, which will take place on March 4 - 5, 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.
With more than 80 million people worldwide who have fled their homes due to persecution and violence, we are now witnesses to one of the most significant humanitarian crises in human history. WJCI celebrated the value of welcoming those in need of a safe place to call home and continuing the Jewish community's support for pro-refugee and asylum seeker policies across the globe during HIAS Refugee Shabbat 2021. It was an opportunity to raise awareness in our communities, recognize the work that has been done, and reaffirm our commitment to welcoming refugees and asylum seekers.
2021 participating synagogues included: Bet Am Shalom, Bet Torah, Beth El of Bucks County in Yardley, PA, Beth El Synagogue Center, Chavurat Torah, Community Synagogue of Rye, Congregation Anshe Sholom, Congregation B'nai Yisrael, Congregation Emanu-el of Westchester, Congregation Kol Ami, First Hebrew Congregation, Greenburgh Hebrew Center, Hebrew Congregation of Somers, Hebrew Institute of White Plains, Jewish Community Center of Harrison, Larchmont Temple, Lincoln Park Jewish Center, Mishkan Ha'am – The Westchester-Riverdale Reconstructionist Group, Pleasantville Community Synagogue, Temple Beth Am, Temple Israel New Rochelle, Temple Israel of Northern Westchester, Temple Israel White Plains, Temple Shaaray Tefila, Westchester Jewish Center, and Woodlands Community Synagogue.
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
Here are actions you can take to help local immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees.
New Neighbors Partnership matches newly arrived refugee families with local families who have slightly older kids and can regularly pass along clothing hand-me-downs. In the last two years, we've served over 300 kids in New York City from 32 countries with $150,000 worth of clothing! We're looking for local donor families with kids of all ages —especially kids who wear clothing sizes 10-16 — to pass clothes on to a newly-arrived refugee family. You can learn more and sign up here, purchase emergency items for new families here, and or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Hundreds of volunteers donated, sorted, and packed thousands of supplies taken directly to Joint Base McGuire–Dix–Lakehurst.
UJA JCC Greenwich has 4 Afghan families here, and it is getting VERY busy! Here are their immediate needs:
1. Televisions. It doesn't seem like a necessity when resettlement groups are sourcing linens and food. Yet, in the U.S., every home has a television. It is a way to connect, and begin to immerse ourselves in our culture. JCC is asking for donations or new flat screen TV's. Nothing fancy- as the families have basic cable in each home for internet connection.
2. Old Navy/H&M/Target Gift Cards. JCC’s clients are in need of seasonal clothing. We have received a good number of donations, but have few unrestricted in the form of gift cards. This allows our clients to pick things based on their personal taste, size, and comfort level.
Please email email@example.com if you can provide these items.
Shames JCC on the Hudson is hosting a MLK Day of Service Event on Monday, January 17th at Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale from 3-5pm! Part of their activities will be to prepare care kits for young Afghan children staying on Fort Dix. To attend the MLK Day of Service Event, please register here. This is an interfaith event for ALL teens (8th-12th grade) so please share the link and invite your friends to join you in volunteering.
Northern Westchester’s ReSET, comprised of many of WJCI’s longtime and committed members from Bet Torah, Temple Shaaray Tefila, and Temple Beth El, is accepting monetary donations to resettle incoming Afghan families. Checks can be made out to Bet Torah and sent to ReSET, P.O. Box 58, Mt. Kisco, NY 10549. Donors should include their name, address and email address for a receipt, and write ReSET on the check’s memo line.
Four years ago, the Jewish Community Center of Harrison (JCCH) helped to resettle a young Afghan family for resettlement in our community. The family continues to thrive in White Plains, where they recently purchased their own home.
But when they left Kabul four years ago, they left behind immediate family members who had applied for Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) but had not yet received them at the time the U.S. pulled out of Afghanistan this past August. Their 9 family members, who span three generations: grandparents, siblings and nieces ages 6 and 1, were among the more fortunate and were flown out of Kabul to a refugee center in the United Arab Emirates in late October.
In response, we have resurrected our resettlement committee and are planning to assist these two new families (9 people) when they arrive. They just completed their U.S. biometrics, documentation, and interview processes in the UAE and received approval to come to the U.S. We have been told to expect them to arrive around the end of January but that timeline is very fluid and likely to change.
As a result, we will likely need temporary housing ( for approximately one month) in Westchester for these two families while we secure leases and furnish their permanent homes. We have already identified temporary housing for one of the families. The remaining family in need of temporary housing consists of 5 adults: Mother, father and 3 adult single children (ranging in age from 21-30).
We have also started to search for two separate apartments for permanent housing (maximum $2,500/month per apartment). White Plains vicinity is ideal. They do not need to live near each other. The two families are comprised of:
Family 1: Mother, father and 3 adult single children (ranging from approximately 21-30 years old) Family 2: Mother, father and 2 young daughters (ages 6 and 1).
Thank you for any assistance you can offer..
Please contact Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org or 917-509-0073
General: If you know housing resources or want to be a resource for future needs, please contact Laura Lewis, email@example.com