HIAS Blog

Putting Things into Perspective

Posted by Ilanit Sisso on Tue, Jun 28, 2011 at 9:41 am

After World War II, when much of the world had closed its doors to the Jewish people, Venezuela was one of the few countries that welcomed Jews from around the world with open arms. Growing up, I always heard the story of the Caribia and the Koenigstein, two German steamboats filled with Jewish refugees that had been allowed to enter into the country after they had been rejected from a number of other ports. The most notable part of this


Passover Reflections

Posted by Igor Khayet on Mon, May 09, 2011 at 17:12 pm

Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to celebrate Pesach in San Francisco, California. I've been living here for the past two months as part of a fellowship program for the Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurship and I was worried about finding a place to have a seder. As it turns out, one of my closest friends from Kansas City has relatives in San Francisco and graciously invited me to their house.

I could never have imagined the unlikely connection that I


Africa Calling

Posted by Caroline Pacht on Tue, Mar 29, 2011 at 17:20 pm

A year ago, if someone had told me that I would be on a plane going to Africa, I would have never believed them. Yet, this once-in-a lifetime opportunity presented itself when I was accepted to the HIAS Mission to Kenya and Uganda. It was an experience that I will never forget.

We touched down in Nairobi, Kenya, and were greeted by representatives from HRTK (HIAS Refugee Trust of Kenya) and HIAS USA. At HRTK, we learned about


How a stranger learned to welcome the stranger

Posted by Alison Karfeld on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 14:07 pm

I am a most unlikely representative of the Jewish community. To say the least. I am the child of a Christmas baby.

We have five boxes of Santa Claus-esque paraphernalia, gleaned over many decades, that we haul out every year in the same way you probably haul out your great-grandma's menorah. But of course, we stop short of having a tree... because we're Jewish. ;) Once in my student teaching, I was asked to lead a lesson on Hannukah; I turned


HIAS Mourns the Passing of Michael B. Rukin

Posted by Gideon Aronoff on Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 15:04 pm

The entire HIAS family—board and staff—mourns the untimely death of our immediate past chair, Michael B. Rukin, 70 of Boston, who died last Friday following a stroke. An early activist in the Soviet Jewry movement, Michael first came on the HIAS board in 1986, completing that term in 1998. Then, in 2003, he was re-elected to his second term. So, except for a brief five-year interlude, he has been a towering presence on the HIAS board for the better part


The Program that Saved my Jewish Education

Posted by Larry Schooler on Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 15:01 pm

It’s only been a few weeks since I became involved with HIAS and the Young Leaders, but already I feel a deep sense of passion for their work – from the start, HIAS’ issues resonated with me. During my recent participation in HIAS’ Advocacy Mission – where I interacted directly with policymakers in Congress, the United Nations, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), and others – I realized how closely these issues are tied


All You Need is Love .... And a Good Jewish Lawyer

Posted by Leon Wildes on Thu, Dec 09, 2010 at 18:59 pm

Leon Wildes, HIAS Board member and Senior Partner of the immigration law firm of Wildes & Weinberg, P.C., recounts his experiences as the former immigration attorney for John Lennon in this first person account, published in the New Jersey Standard.


Reflections from Last Year's HIAS Advocacy Mission

Posted by Sanaz Meshkinfam on Wed, Dec 01, 2010 at 16:15 pm

I am a proud Jewish Iranian American. At the age of 9, I, along with my family, immigrated to the U.S. from Iran. Although my family was resettled through a similar organization like HIAS, the majority of the rest of my friends and relatives resettled in the U.S. through the assistance provided by HIAS. In the last 10 years, I have been involved in almost every single political activism group and in civic, national, and global politics working on political


Worlds Colliding: Jewish Ethics and Refugee Law Through the Lens of the Shoah

Posted by Aliyah Phillips on Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 16:59 pm

After completing my first year of law school, I began the summer of 2010 feeling that I was about to embark on two very separate journeys. One would bring me to HIAS in Israel to intern in the field of refugee law; the other would bring me to New York, Germany, and Poland through Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE) to study professional ethics using the Holocaust as a lens.

Within the first week of my internship


"Obama"—A Congolese Refugee Young Leader

Posted by Amy Schwartz on Wed, Oct 20, 2010 at 17:06 pm

Differentiating what leadership means for the youth in America compared to the youth in Africa is a clear topic of discussion.

As you might already know from reading my previous blog posts for HIAServe, I have come here to East Africa as a HIAS Young Leader, a volunteer program of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society that I’ve been active in for the last three years.

HIAS Young Leaders use advocacy, education, community service, and fundraising to continue HIAS' longstanding mission of rescue,


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