The artwork on this note card was created by 5768 WRJ Art Calendar artist Césan d’Ornellas Levine.
Paying It Forward in Durham, NC…For We Were Once Strangers
Disturbing photos of refugees risking their lives for freedom seen on a daily basis, Judea Reform Congregation’s Rabbi’s High Holy Days call to action and a young congregant’s Bar Mitzvah project sparked the engagement of several adult members who came together to support refuges.
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Judea Reform Congregation
Seed Planted: Congregants are moved by Rabbi’s High Holy Days message and a well-publicized Bar Mitzvah project related to refugee advocacy with HIAS
First Sprout: HIAS email sparks 5 congregants to email Rabbi re: joining HIAS Welcome Campaign. Judea Reform Congregation (JRC) becomes 100th congregation to join.
First meeting of Refugee Resettlement Group with invited speaker from local Church World Service (CWS) resettlement office
Congregants donate backpacks filled with school supplies for 21 recently arrived refugee elementary, middle, and high school students and almost $700 in gift cards for families to purchase additional needs.
Congregation furnishes an apartment for an incoming refugee family from Democratic Republic of Congo. Shared story on this blog post: Not your Bubbe’s Chicken Soup
Coordinate successful joint winter outerwear drive with the Lerner Jewish Community Day School, Community Midrasha and the congregation. They donated over 70 heavy coats to newly arrived refugees and immigrants through a partnership with CWS and even greater number of lighter weight items are added to a drive to help victims of Hurricane Matthew in the eastern part of the state.
Over 30 congregants participate in a volunteer orientation with CWS
Team begins a monthly e-newsletter for congregants to promote engagement and share successes.
Surpassed goal with congregants by donating $2275 to purchase 65 monthly bus passes for local public transit system. This was a high priority for the resettlement partner, as newly arrived refugees use public transit to seek employment and get to work and appointments.
Yom Tzedek: Religious School students make welcome cards for 80 newly-arrived refugees
Rabbi Larry Bach speaks at a rally supporting refugees and immigrants on Friday, January 27, hours before President Trump issued an executive order effectively slamming the door.
A number of congregants participate in protest of Muslim ban at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
Congregation partnered with with a local chorus (SONAM supports local non-profits by signing beautiful music) led by our music director Dr. Allan Friedman, for a winter benefit concert which both raised awareness and over $5300 for CWS employment program. The concert opened with words of thanks from a CWS staff person and program beneficiary from Afghanistan.
March 2017 - Mitzvah Day
Congregants participated in many service and social justice projects. Several members shared their stories in “Welcome Selfies.”
On the eve of the second Executive Order closing the door to refugees (now stayed by federal courts), Judea Reform wrote and mailed over 40 postcards to our Senators, Representatives and the President, sharing our support for welcoming refugees.
A number of JRC congregants were among the 1,500+ residents who participated in Durham’s Congregations Associations and Neighborhood’s (Durham CAN) City of Inclusion Action that same afternoon.
Sixteen refugees from four countries (Burma, Chad, China, and Syria) joined Judea Reform’s Second Night Congregational Passover Seder.
A B’nai Mitzvah student is currently sponsoring an umbrella drive seeking 50 new umbrellas for recently arrived refugees.
Initiated the JRC Volunteer Community, a regular monthly meeting of congregants who are engaged in volunteering in direct service with refugees to build community, share experiences including successes and challenges, and to position ourselves to assess when we have a critical mass of experienced volunteers and whether we are ready to successfully take on a larger congregational engagement and commitment to refugee resettlement.
Third grade religious school is leading a drive for "Buckets of Summer Fun" filled with summer activities for refugee children (sidewalk chalk, jump ropes, soap bubbles, other games).