A World Refugee Day Reading

Jews are a people with many holidays — times set aside to lift up important values we hold throughout the year. World Refugee Day on June 20th is a day designated to ensure that we pay attention to the daily plight of refugees — something we might strive to always be aware of but overlook in the day to day rush of our lives. We hope this reading helps you commemorate this important day:

On this summer day, so filled with light, we take note as individuals and as a people, of our many blessings — our lives lived in freedom and safety in this great country, a country where difference is not just tolerated but celebrated.

But it was not always so for us.

How often were we persecuted strangers in other lands? How often did we wish other nations and people would see us, hear our cries, and respond to our pleas? How many of us struggled to build new lives in strange new lands?

Let this World Refugee Day be a day on which we stop and think about refugees in our world today — those who are persecuted simply because of who they are or what they believe. Let us pledge to learn more about their circumstances and do whatever we are able to help them find refuge and begin to rebuild their lives in safety and with dignity.

This World Refugee Day may we recognize the power of the day and, echoing the words of the Torah, love the stranger as ourselves for we were strangers in the land of Egypt.

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