This week as we prepare for Shabbat, we are thankful that the stay on the executive ban that would have halted the refugee program for at least 120 days remains in effect and that refugees continue to arrive in our country. CEO of HIAS Mark Hetfield words echo our sentiments at JSS,
“While this is a temporary measure, we are pleased that the court has recognized the irreparable harm done to refugees who are prevented from finding safety in this country… As a Jewish organization that serves people of all faiths, we had grave concerns about the government’s attempt to impose a lightly edited Muslim ban. Such religious discrimination has no place in America, as the court has rightly recognized.”
The stay that was issued by the Federal district court in Hawaii last week not only is allowing travel into the U.S. to continue, but also puts a temporary restraining order on lowering of admissions from 110,000 in to 50,000 in this fiscal year. This means that more refugees will be coming during the temporary stay. That is news to celebrate. Here at JSS we will continue to support the refugee families we have welcomed and wait to hear about new families that will be placed with us.
We are continually grateful and amazed by the outpouring of support the community has given JSS as we have launched our newly reconstituted refugee resettlement program. This week’s Torah portion speaks about such generosity. The Israelites are commanded to donate the materials needed to build the Mishkan. They give in such abundance that Moses says, “The people are bringing more than is needed for the tasks entailed in the work.” So he declares, “Let no man or woman make further effort toward gifts for the sanctuary.” (Exodus 36:5-6).
The people brought more than was needed to build the Mishkan so Moses had to stop the giving! There are times at JSS we have had a similar experience. There have been more offers of gifts and help for refugee resettlement than we can use and may overwhelm our new neighbors. What a wonderful blessing of abundance! As we at JSS continue to work with families from all over the world as well as all over Dane Cuonty, we will need your help. Sometimes we will have many requests and other times we will revel in the abundance and have fewer requests. Please know that knowledge of your support continues to sustain the staff and the refugees as they make the difficult transition into life in the United States even when there is not an immediate need. And as always, please consider helping with some of our other programs as well.
I suspect that the people bringing gifts to the Mishkan who were told to stop were probably very frustrated. But despite the frustration God’s presence comes to dwell in the Mishkan at the end of today’s Torah portion. So too, God’s presence dwells in our community as we work together to welcome refugees at this difficult time in our country.
Rabbi Renee Bauer and Dawn Berney
What you can do right now:
A shopping carts a family can take on the sidewalk/bus for grocery shopping. Please contact Sherie Sondel if you are able to donate such a cart.
Volunteer help needed:
- We need volunteers to help with office work for our resettlement program. We are a variety of different needs. Contact Paul Borowsky if you can help.
- We are in the process of planning a really fun fundraiser event. If you want to help with the planning, contact Leora Saposnik, our event chairperson.
Advocate for refugees:
Call your legislators and let them know that you support refugee program and oppose the executive orders banning refugees. Go to www.rcusa.org/advocate-now
for information of how to advocate.
We hope these email updates are helpful. As there isn’t as much information to share every week, we will be sending these updates every other week instead of every week. Please share them with friends and neighbors who would like to support the refugee resettlement program.