HIAS’ Sixth Annual Refugee Shabbat, which will take place on February 2-3, 2024, is an invitation for congregations, organizations, and individuals to express their solidarity with the global Jewish movement for refugee protection and welcome. People seeking asylum are being turned away at borders around the world. The number of forcibly displaced people has grown to over 110 million. The growing impact of climate change exacerbates the effects of violence, conflict, and economic instability on already vulnerable populations. This is a critical moment for all of us to reaffirm and redouble our support for refugees, asylum seekers, and the forcibly displaced, and an opportunity to step back, reflect, and celebrate the work we have already done.
How to Participate
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 your 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 bring congregations and faith communities together to learn and chart a joint course of action.
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.
Upon registration, both individuals and congregations will receive access to HIAS’ library of Refugee Shabbat programming resources, which will include liturgical readings, 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.
We encourage you to think through which of these options would be the most appealing to you and/or 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.
*If the February 2-3 dates do not work for you or your community, feel free to register your participation below and choose another date in Spring 2024 that works with your calendar.
Please contact Rabbi Megan Doherty with any additional questions.