50+ Synagogues and Jewish Organizations Hold #JewsforRefugees Assembly in New York

NEW YORK -- On Wednesday evening, more than 50 synagogues and communal organizations and over 200 individuals representing New York’s Jewish community came together in support of refugees. Participants in the #JewsforRefugees Assembly called on the United States delegation to the historic UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants (September 19) and President Obama’s Leaders’ Summit on the Global Refugee Crisis (September 20) to take leadership to protect the safety and dignity of millions of refugees worldwide.

HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees, convened the event at the Manny Cantor Center on the Lower East Side, as part of its Welcome Campaign, leading and convening local Jewish communities across the country in supporting refugees.

The gathering included refugee speakers, policy experts, and community leaders who laid out their vision for what they hope to see happen at next week’s summits. The last time that international leaders united to produce a vision for refugees was in 1951, following the Holocaust.

Among those who spoke were Manny Lindenbaum, a Holocaust survivor and advocate for refugees, whom HIAS helped reunite with his family in 1946; Sana Mustafa, a Syrian refugee who is now a Bard College student seeking to reunite her family; Rabbi Serge Lippe, Senior Rabbi at Brooklyn Heights Synagogue; Eleanor Acer, Senior Director for Refugee and Protection at Human Rights First, who will be the only representative from an American NGO speaking at Monday's UN meeting on refugees and migrants; Mark Hetfield, President and CEO of HIAS; Melanie Nezer, VP of Policy and Advocacy of HIAS; and Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, VP of Community Engagement, HIAS.

Earlier this week, HIAS was one of 15 Jewish organizations to sign onto a joint statement on the historic refugee summits, that, in part, reads: “We urge those participating in the September meetings to jointly assert that no country will return a refugee to persecution or create barriers to people seeking asylum. … We call on world leaders to keep their doors open to refugees and to work with international organizations and civil society to come up with new, creative approaches to address large-scale displacement in the 21st century.”


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