HIAS, WJCI Sponsors Refugee Shabbat

Refugee Shabbat 2022, 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.


 HIAS, a nonpartisan 501{c}[3} refugee protection organization, conveys that, “This past year our hearts have swelled at the massive global effort to evacuate and find safe homes for Afghans fleeing for their lives; and they have broken seeing people whose lives are in danger being turned away at border crossings around the world. This is a critical moment for all of us to reaffirm and redouble our support for refugees and asylum seekers.”


Whether you sign up to participate on behalf of your congregation or as an individual hosting an event in a home, there are many options for a Refugee Shabbat. It could be the culmination of a week of action on refugee issues, a moment to simply focus on learning more about the global refugee crisis in a Jewish context, or an opportunity to convene Jewish (or interfaith) congregations to learn and chart a course of action together. 


Congregations might consider including a liturgical reading on the theme of the refugee crisis in Shabbat services and/or dedicating a sermon or text study to the topic. If you have a relationship with a refugee or refugee professional in your local community, consider inviting that person to speak during services. You might also plan an educational program after Friday evening services or after Saturday morning services.

For individuals and congregations alike, HIAS can provide programming resources that include a liturgical reading, sermon/D’var Torah talking points, a text study, and a list of ways that people can take action on their own or as a group. 


HIAS encourages one to think through which of these options would be the most appealing to an individual and/or to your community. Congregations and organizations may also want to begin identifying possible community partners (e.g., other synagogues, local organizations, etc.) and finding the right space for the program.


Given the uncertainty around COVID-19, HIAS is preparing resources that will work either online or in-person (in accordance with public health guidelines in place in March 2022).


Co-Sponsors (list in formation):


Anti-Defamation League (ADL); American Jewish World Service (AJWS); European Council of Jewish Communities (ECJC); Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA); JIAS Toronto; National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW); Network of Jewish Human Services Agencies (NJHSA); Paideia – The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden; Religious Action Center (RAC); Reconstructing Judaism; Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association (RRA); Repair the World; T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights; and Union for Reform Judaism.


Contact HIAS at 301-844-7300 or 212-967-4100 with any questions or Westchester Jewish Coalition for Immigration, wjci.org.