Pittsburgh Jews Welcome Syrians As Trump Warns Of Danger

Jewish agency, Reform temple helping resettle refugees as ‘holy work’; GOP frontrunner: ‘Lock your doors’.

04/27/2016 - 08:47
Staff Writer

Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump warned Rhode Island voters Monday to “lock your doors” because Syrian refugees resettling in their state could break into their homes.

At the same time, 500 miles west, a Pittsburgh synagogue is reaching out to the Syrian refugees settling in their community.

Leslie Aizenman of Pittsburgh’s Jewish Family & Children’s Service.  Courtesy of Jewish Family & Children’s Service

A Call To Welcome Asylum Seekers From Central America

01/26/2016 - 11:08
Special To The Jewish Week

The Jewish people descended from Hebrew slaves who took refuge in the wilderness. We fled Europe during World War II. We know the heart of the refugee yearning to be free. And so our hearts are heavy that more than 120 people have been taken into custody in the last several weeks since the Department of Homeland Security announced its plan to deport families who had sought asylum from Central American countries, including Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

Mark Hetfield

An Open Letter To Mayor Bill de Blasio On Syrian Refugees

12/23/2015 - 19:14

Dear Mayor Bill de Blasio:

Guided by our history and values, Jewish organizations from across the political and religious spectrum are rallying in support of refugees, regardless of religion, race, or nationality. On behalf of HIAS, the global Jewish non-profit organization that was established here in New York City in 1881 to protect refugees, we want you to know that we share your commitment to welcoming refugees as part of the core values of both the United States and New York City. The U.S. has offered protection to the world’s most vulnerable people and time and time again, this included protecting Jews. Today, this is more important than ever with unprecedented numbers of refugees unable to go home, in need of protection, and hoping to be resettled.

Mark Hetfield (left), Dale Schwartz

11 Jewish Groups Join Call For Congress To Accept Syrian Refugees Into U.S.

11/17/2015 - 19:00

Washington — Eleven Jewish groups are among 81 that sent a letter to Congress members urging them not to roll back plans to accept Syrian refugees into the United States.

Mark Hetfield, HIAS CEO

The Paris Attacks: A Time For Mourning And Clarity – But Not For Scapegoating

11/16/2015 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

The attacks in Paris and in Beirut last week were heartbreaking. Words alone cannot express our sadness over these events. Our deepest condolences go out to the people of Paris and Beirut, most of all to the families who lost loved ones. We pray for the recovery of the wounded.

Mark Hetfield

Syrian Refugees Are Not Jewish, But We Are

10/19/2015 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

I read with horror that 71 people had died in the back of a truck on an Austrian highway. They were likely refugees from Syria packed one on top of another in the broiling summer heat, taking desperate measures to escape violence. Only a few weeks later, we all saw the wrenching photo of Aylan Kurdi, a small boy whose body washed up on a Turkish beach after his family attempted to reach safety by boat.

Rabbi Jennie Rosenn

HIAS, Reform Rap Obama Administration For Lowballing Syrian Refugees

09/23/2015 - 20:00

Two U.S. Jewish organizations said the Obama administration’s offer to absorb at least 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year was inadequate.

“Increasing the total number of refugees from 70,000 to 85,000 for next year and to 100,000 for the year after is a nice symbolic gesture,” Mark Hetfield, the president of HIAS, a Jewish group that assists in refugee resettlement and advocates for immigration reform, said Sunday in a statement. “It is a baby step in the right direction. But it is not leadership.”

The Reform movement also said in a statement Monday that Secretary of State John Kerry’s proposed numbers did not meet the mark.

“The new admission numbers remain insufficient considering the scope of the crisis at hand,” said Rabbi Jonah Pesner, the director of the Reform’s Religious Action Center.

Obama Agrees To Settle 10,000 Syrians; HIAS Wants 100,000

09/09/2015 - 20:00
Web Director

President Barack Obama has directed his administration to prepare to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees next year, up from 1,000 this past year – but that’s far fewer than the 100,000 Jewish refugee aid organization HIAS wants the U.S. government to resettle.

HIAS Shifting Gears

With few Jews left to save, immigrant aid group finds relevance in non-Jewish refugees.
07/16/2013 - 20:00

The new HIAS is not your grandmother’s Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and it’s certainly not the one that brought her mother over from the Pale of Settlement.

'The Best Of The Greatest Generation'

The Senate's last WWII veteran, Frank Lautenberg fought for Soviet Jews and against the tobacco lobby.
06/02/2013 - 20:00

New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg, whose signature law facilitated a flood of Soviet Jewish emigration just prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, has died.

Mr. Lautenberg, 89, died Monday morning at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell of complications from viral pneumonia, his office said.

Senator Frank Lautenberg's legacy endures in major legislation bearing his name.
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