LONDON — Leaders of the Jewish community and guests gathered Tuesday evening to celebrate the coming together of HIAS and JCORE (the Jewish Council for Racial Equality) to form a new entity which will lead the Jewish response on issues of asylum, refugees, and racial equality in the United Kingdom.
The event followed the announcement last June that the two organizations were joining to form HIAS+JCORE. With this launch, HIAS is now providing vital services to forcibly displaced people in 23 countries in Africa, Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East.
Hosted at JW3, the Jewish Community Centre for London and live streamed to viewers around the world, the evening began with welcoming remarks from Adam Rose, chairperson of HIAS+JCORE, and Mark Hetfield, president and CEO of HIAS.
“Joining forces with HIAS enables JCORE to do more campaigning with a louder voice and a bigger reach. HIAS+JCORE will lead the U.K.-Jewish community’s voice on anti-racism and asylum and refugee issues, amplifying the voices of support from our community for those communities and for the individuals who can benefit from our support,” Rose said. “With this new arrangement, we gain access to a more global platform, to be part of a world-wide campaign and group of activists. At the same time, HIAS+JCORE will be very much a British charity, led from and leading our community’s response to race, refugee and asylum issues, and primarily responsible for its own fundraising.”
“This launch celebration for HIAS+JCORE marks a significant milestone for all of us, as we expand our international presence by bringing together two organizations with long histories of supporting refugees and asylum seekers,” said HIAS President and CEO Mark Hetfield. “We are thrilled to formally welcome the first executive director of HIAS+JCORE in the U.K., Rabbi David Mason, whose experience and leadership will further elevate the Jewish response to the global displacement crisis. We are also honored to build on the foundation established by JCORE founder and Honorary President Dr. Edie Friedman, as we continue JCORE’s historic work for racial equality in the U.K.”
Yalda Hakim, chief presenter on BBC News, whose parents fled Afghanistan when she was a child, gave a talk about the current plight of women in that country and shared a short film from a recent visit to Kabul. Hakim acknowledged the work the Jewish community has done in both the U.K. and U.S. to assist Afghan refugees, saying “I am so grateful for the work your organizations do for the Afghan community.”
Dr. Edie Friedman, JCORE’s founder and executive director, who was repeatedly cheered by the audience, shared a slideshow highlighting many moments from her nearly 45-year journey leading the organization.
Rose then presented Friedman with the inaugural Lord Dubs Award, for contributions to the cause of race relations and the rights of asylum seekers and refugees. An additional presentation was made by Anna Isaacs, Friedman’s daughter, of a souvenir album with photographs and press cuttings from her 45 years’ work.
The event concluded with the formal introduction of HIAS+JCORE Executive Director Rabbi David Mason, who outlined his ambition for the new organization.
“I want to mobilize the U.K. Jewish community to support and advocate for refugees and asylum seekers, as well as for a society that combats all forms of racism along with growing antisemitism. And we will mobilize with our values of Rachamim (Compassion), Arvut (Responsibility), Shlemut (Solidarity) and Gishur (Partnership), to bring the Jewish voice to the table, to support refugees, and fight racism.”
To read more about HIAS+JCORE, visit hiasjcore.org