Of Note: A Celebration of the New Year: HIAS Advocacy for the Long Haul – SSI Restored for Vulnerable Refugees
Posted by Gideon Aronoff on Thu, Oct 02, 2008 at 12:46 pm
This Rosh Hashanah, HIAS is celebrating not only the beginning of the year 5769, but also President Bush’s signature on Tuesday, September 30, of the SSI Extension for Elderly and Disabled Refugees Act. This happy event is the culmination of a HIAS advocacy campaign that has lasted for a dozen years.
In 1996, HIAS, along with other activists in the Jewish community and organizations concerned with the welfare of immigrants and refugees, greeted the passage of the welfare reform bill, the
Posted by Gideon Aronoff on Tue, Aug 05, 2008 at 12:43 pm
Last week I joined more than one thousand fellow demonstrators marching through the streets of Postville, Iowa in solidarity with the undocumented immigrant workers who were detained, some deported, and many imprisoned after a raid by the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE). This raid, the largest single-site raid by ICE, was notable because of its scope (nearly 400 workers were arrested); the fact that for the first time a large group of undocumented immigrant workers
Posted by Gideon Aronoff on Mon, Jul 07, 2008 at 12:42 pm
As we approach the Fourth of July and our country’s 232nd birthday, I reflect on President George Washington’s comment that “the bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges…” I also think of President John F. Kennedy’s statement that, “Immigration is by definition a gesture of faith in social mobility. It
Posted by Gideon Aronoff on Fri, Apr 18, 2008 at 12:41 pm
As Jews around the world gather for their Passover seders, we remember Maimonides teaching that “There is a positive mitzvah in the Torah commanding us to relate all the wonders and miracles that happened to our forefathers in Egypt on the night of the 15th of Nisan,” based on Exodus 13;3: “Remember this day that you left Egypt.” (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Hametz and Matza, Chapter 7).
Over 127 years working with refugees and immigrants, HIAS has had the privilege to
Posted by Gideon Aronoff on Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 12:39 pm
On March 10th I had the great privilege to participate in and serve as moderator of a historic gathering of faith leaders committed to breaking the political and societal deadlock that has, thus far, undermined all attempts to create workable and humane immigration laws. HIAS and our partners in the Interfaith Immigration Coalition (IIC) convened this roundtable of bishops, ministers, rabbis, and other religious leaders to address our common religious calling to “serve the stranger among us,” and to kick
Posted by Gideon Aronoff on Fri, Dec 21, 2007 at 12:29 pm
Throughout last week’s Board activities in New York, I returned time and again to the notion that HIAS is a mosaic of stories, languages and flavors created by the refugees and immigrants we have assisted. As we continue to build our capacity to serve our clients and constituents in the Jewish community and beyond, we can celebrate our rich and diverse history and build on this history to fulfill our organization’s mission for the future.
Hearing from Lucette Lagnado, author of
Posted by Gideon Aronoff on Tue, Dec 04, 2007 at 12:19 pm
As we prepare to light the first candle of our HIAS Menorah, I wanted to share a recent story from AP on the controversial new policy guidance from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on parole for asylum seekers.
Homeland Security has recommended an additional set of criteria for its review process when deciding whether to continue to jail applicants for asylum. Earlier changes in asylum procedures already mandated that everyone seeking asylum and arriving in the U.S. without valid documents
Posted by Gideon Aronoff on Thu, Oct 25, 2007 at 12:22 pm
As Maimonides notes, “A person must be especially heedful of his behavior toward widows and orphans because their souls are deeply depressed and their spirits low…” (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Character Development, 6:10.) Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, in The Book of Jewish Values, applies this fundamental principle of Jewish ethics to a variety of groups of children – those that lost but one parent, were adopted, were abandoned. In each case, Rabbi Telushkin identifies the weakness and vulnerability of the child
Of Note: The HIAS Supplemental Security Income Initiative: Don't cut off assistance to disabled, aged refugees
Posted by Gideon Aronoff on Mon, Oct 01, 2007 at 17:38 pm
Since Congress enacted legislation in 1996 that sought to “reform” welfare – in significant part on the backs of immigrant families – HIAS has been deeply engaged in the struggle to restore benefits to some of our nation’s most vulnerable newcomers. Central to HIAS’ work on this issue has been an effort to ensure that elderly and disabled refugees continue to receive life-sustaining benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
The HIAS SSI Initiative fulfills two of our core expressions of
Posted by Gideon Aronoff on Fri, Jul 06, 2007 at 16:57 pm
I have just returned from a weeklong site-visit to HIAS’ refugee programs in Vienna and Kyiv. I came away with a tremendous sense of pride in the work being done to assist refugees from Iran, the former Soviet Union (FSU) and more than 40 other countries around the world.
I also felt a strong “presence” of the Holocaust throughout this trip – beginning with my in-flight reading on the tragic demise of pre-war Viennese Jewry. Of the 206,000 people of Jewish
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