The need for humanitarian support for displaced people is increasing, and our moral obligation is to care for them. Lev. 19:33-34 states:
When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not wrong him. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I the Lord am your God.
Our own people’s history as “strangers” reminds us of the many struggles we endured. We affirm our commitment to create the same opportunities for today’s refugees that were so valuable to our own community not so many years ago.
Therefore, at KI we are highlighting the urgent needs of Ukrainian refugees. We are also forging ties with HIAS PA, which has a proven record of serving immigrants in our Commonwealth by working to address their needs, defending their rights, and advocating for their equitable inclusion in American society.
HIAS PA is committed to helping displaced people to build new lives in safety and freedom. They provide legal and social services to immigrants in our community– people of all faiths and ethnicities from all over the world.
The UN Refugee Agency reports that more than 2.8 million refugees have fled Ukraine since the war began. Our hearts go out to all of the displaced, all of these refugees. We have many ways to help (click here for more information).
This Shabbat, March 18th we have a 6:00 p.m. Family Service with the 5th Grade Class along with Greetings and Interfaith prayers with the Ukrainian Community as we welcome Dean Nicholas Rudnytzky from Manor College, A Ukrainian Catholic School.
Also, please join us on Friday, April 1 at 6:00 p.m. when WRJ KI Sisterhood and the KI Social Justice Committee present Cathryn Miller-Wilson, HIAS PA Executive Director, who will speak on how we can advocate for migrants including people fleeing from Ukraine.
KI and HIAS PA have a history of connections from our ancestors, who were helped as immigrants, to us collecting household items for refugees settling in our area today. We will continue to strengthen the relationship with HIAS PA especially in these challenging times when so many are displaced and in need of security, friendship and community.
HIAS PA advocates for improving immigration policies, which is especially important for Ukrainians living in the US who want to bring Ukrainian family members here. According to HIAS PA, “The only way to do that is through family-based petitions or petitions filed pursuant to the Lautenberg Amendment… Both processes take several years to complete.” HIAS PA recommends that we write to our US legislators, asking them to streamline the process in order to enable family members to come to the US and to get the safety and humanitarian support they desperately need.
Cantor Amy E. Levy