At the Immigration Shabbaton in December, we learned that more than 65 million people worldwide have been displaced by conflict, the highest level ever recorded. We heard stories of the dangers and difficulties they encounter as they seek safety and stability. And we were told of programs in Philadelphia that are reaching out to refugees and providing much needed services. Following the Shabbaton, the Social Action Committee met with members of the congregation to review what we had learned, take a closer look at Philadelphia programs serving immigrants, and explore possible next steps. We agreed that this is the most complex social justice issue we have addressed and that we needed to reach out to the members of the congregation before deciding upon an action plan.
The list of possible approaches includes adopting a family or interacting with refugees on a more limited basis, providing services to refugees without personal interaction, and fund raising, in addition to our ongoing advocacy work. The activities are not mutually exclusive. Read through the choices carefully and check all those that you would like Society Hill Synagogue to take on. In making your selections, please consider the likely capacity of the congregation to fulfill its commitment, particularly with respect to adopting a family.
While not always the case, there are immigrant families with intense needs that require a committed support team with the time, energy, interest, and expertise to meet those needs. Depending on the family, this could include helping members learn English, conduct job searches, schedule and get to medical appointments, navigate the city and/or shop for food and other necessities, as well as providing social support, companionship, guidance for interacting with children’s teachers, and/or assistance with some rent payments. While none of this means that we should not adopt a family, an approach in which many of you have expressed interest, we need to think about it realistically. The ultimate goal is to help the family become self-sufficient. The commitment is for one year.
Click here to take survey
Please complete the survey by May 1st.