Remember the Stranger is a mitzvah that appears 36 times in the Torah. Our tradition holds that the story of the enslavement in Egypt teaches our hearts to know the stranger and to care about the plight of the vulnerable. For this reason and more the current refugee crisis summons us to listen and to respond. But what might we do - as individuals and as a community? I am grateful to announce that Carrie Fox-Kline, Director of Refugee Programming and Planning at HIAS PA, will join us on Shabbat, April 9th, to educate us about the current situation and to help us figure out how to respond.
Representatives from this wonderful organization have visited BI in the past, but for those new to their work, here is a little background, courtesy of their website. HIAS PA provides legal and supportive services to immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers from all backgrounds and works to assure their fair treatment and full integration into American society. HIAS Pennsylvania believes that newcomers are an asset, not a burden, to the community.
Their programs include: Representation and legal counseling before immigration agencies and courts; Assistance with citizenship, refugee resettlement and other social services to assist newly arriving immigrants, refugees and those recently granted asylum; and Advocacy and education related to immigrant issues and rights.
HIAS PA and Beth Israel are natural partners through our mutual concern for the vulnerable and our shared commitments to tikun olam (repair of the world).
We are proud to welcome HIAS PA back to Beth Israel and hope that our conversation on that day leads to action that will touch lives and save lives.