JCORE to Join with HIAS, Connecting two Jewish Agencies with Long Histories of Supporting Refugees and Asylum Seekers
Jun 13, 2022
Organizations to join forces amid the worst refugee crisis in Europe since World War II
SILVER SPRING, Md. – JCORE and HIAS today announced the joining of their two organizations in the United Kingdom, connecting JCORE to HIAS’ international Jewish movement for refugees. While this decision was taken before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, now, against the backdrop of the worst refugee crisis in Europe since World War II, the union of these two Jewish organizations will enable both to better respond to meet the needs of those affected.
Together, JCORE and HIAS – each with long histories of supporting refugees and asylum seekers – will significantly enhance the UK Jewish response to issues of asylum, refugees and racial equality. Some of this will take place within the Jewish community, through strengthening the education of young Jews on racial equality, as well as introducing HIAS’ Welcome Campaign to UK synagogues, expanding the network that has brought together congregations in the U.S. to take action on refugee issues.
Beyond the Jewish community, the combined organization will have greater capacity to support programs such as JCORE’s befriending project for unaccompanied asylum-seeking young people (JUMP) and Refugee Doctors mentoring.
Dr. Edie Friedman, Executive Director of JCORE, who founded the organization more than 45 years ago, will be taking up a new position of Honorary President. A search is already underway for a Chief Executive who will lead the organization and oversee its rebranding, including a new name. There will be a major event this fall, at which the ambitions of this exciting collaboration will be presented.
Edie, who is originally from the United States, said, “It has been a privilege to have developed JCORE’s work in my adopted country. I am proud that, over the past 45 years, we have consistently encouraged the Jewish community to take action on race and asylum in the UK. I am also proud that we have helped to make the Jewish voice on these issues part of the national conversation, respected by politicians, other communities, and refugee and anti-racism organizations. I look forward to the next chapter in the JCORE story. I’m confident that the new relationship with HIAS will ensure that social justice remains at the heart of Jewish values, thus also reinforcing a positive Jewish identity, both for ourselves and for the wider society.”
“JCORE has long been the UK’s Jewish voice on issues of race, asylum and refugee rights, and coming together with HIAS gives our community access to a pool of knowledge and talent which will add huge support to the projects and campaigns that JCORE runs,” said Adam Rose, Chairperson, JCORE. “I also want to pay tribute to Edie Friedman, whose vision and drive to rally the Jewish community to speak up for good race relations, against race discrimination, and in support of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK has been truly remarkable and inspiring. I am hugely excited for the future of our work in the UK, which, sadly, seems more needed than ever.”
“At HIAS, we used to help refugees because they were Jewish, but today we help refugees in over 20 countries because we are Jewish,” said HIAS President and CEO Mark Hetfield. “The Jewish community of the UK knows the heart of the stranger, so we are very excited to build on JCORE’s work for racial equality and for welcoming refugees by connecting them with HIAS’ work with forcibly displaced persons around the world. The work of HIAS and JCORE in the UK will, consistent with HIAS’ localized approach, be locally led. The global refugee crisis demands an international response as no one community can do it alone.”
Established in 1976, JCORE (Jewish Council for Racial Equality) has worked both inside and outside the Jewish community to provide a Jewish voice on race and asylum issues. Indeed, we are the only Jewish anti-racism organisation that makes explicit the connection between racism and attitudes to asylum.
We believe a concern for social justice should be an integral part of Jewish identity and interaction with the rest of society. We encourage the Jewish community to speak out against racism because, as Jews, we know what happens when others stand by and do nothing. Our work also involves collaboration with other communities, as we believe this is the best way to tackle racism and discrimination.
We work in three main areas: education on race and asylum issues; campaigning and practical support for refugees and asylum seekers; and Black-Asian-Jewish dialogue. Through our schools’ programmes, we help Jewish children see the connection between their Jewish identity and combating racism. We have four programmes to help asylum seekers and refugees: JUMP, providing one-to-one befriending for vulnerable young asylum seekers who have come to the UK without parents or a guardian; Minds Together, offering one-to-one therapeutic counselling and creative group sessions to vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees who have been deeply traumatised in their countries of origin; Refugee Doctors, helping refugee doctors to requalify in the UK; and JCORE Support, providing basic necessities for destitute asylum seekers in the UK.
Over one hundred years ago, the Jewish community founded HIAS (originally the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) in New York City, the immigrant gateway to America. Supporting Jews fleeing persecution and poverty in Eastern Europe, our founders were guided by the traditions, texts, and history of the Jewish people—a history of oppression, displacement, and diaspora.
HIAS has since helped generations of Jews facing violence because of who they were, and HIAS remains committed to helping Jewish refugees anywhere in the world. Today, our clients and staff at HIAS come from diverse faiths, ethnicities, and backgrounds. We bring our experience, history, and values to our work across five continents, ensuring that refugees receive the vital services and opportunities they need to thrive.
Learn more and take action at HIAS.org.