Throughout the month of June, faith communities across the country are joining in a Refugees Welcome Campaign in honor of World Refugee Day on June 20. Faith communities, refugee resettlement organizations and human rights groups have formed a partnership to provide a vibrant welcome to refugees among us.
The goal of the Refugees Welcome campaign is to provide opportunities for refugees to share their experiences with faith and community groups to:
- build friendships among diverse cultures and faiths
- strengthen public and private welcome of our refugee neighbors
- promote refugee integration and leadership
- celebrate refugees’ community contributions
As a Jewish community, we are inspired by the words of Leviticus which teach, “the stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (19:34). With over 60 million people displaced worldwide, we must ensure that those who are fleeing violence and persecution are able to find a safe haven and freedom in the United States. By joining together as an interfaith community to welcome refugees into our houses of worship across the country, we can make a powerful statement that we are ready to respond to this crisis.
There are multiples ways that you can join this initiative and commemorate World Refugee Day.
1. Host a Refugee Welcome Dinner. Invite members of your congregation, other faith groups in your area, local government officials and local refugees to join in a meal and show that refugees are welcome in your community. The RAC can connect you with refugees in your community through your local resettlement agency. Download the Refugees Welcome Toolkit to find resources for hosting a dinner.
2. Host a Refugee to speak at a Shabbat Service. Invite refugees to join you in a Shabbat service. Read about Shaarei-Beth El Congregation’s Welcome Event.
3. Speak about the Refugee Crisis and share a Prayer for Refugees on Shabbat. Download a prayer written by Rabbi Marla J. Feldman, Executive Director of Women of Reform Judaism, in honor of World Refugee Day.
4. Contact your Members of Congress. In 2016 alone, more than 40 pieces of anti-refugee legislation have been introduced on the state and federal level. Urge your Members of Congress to support welcoming refugees in to your community.
5. Share Messages of Welcome on Social Media. Use #welcomerefugees to show that your congregation welcomes refugees in your community.