Karibu to Kenya. My New Co-Workers

Posted by Amy Schwartz on Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 13:29 pm

Arrival into Nairobi: 13:30 on Monday, the 31st of May to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

See in the distance: Steven, a driver at the HIAS Refugee Trust of Kenya, holding my name up boldly and smiling.

“Karibu!” he says.

What is Karibu, you ask?

Swahili for ‘Welcome.’

Okay makes sense; he was waiting for me to arrive for my fellowship with HRTK and wishes me Karibu!

But what I found out instantly was Karibu doesn’t just mean the standard. ‘Welcome’ that you might see on signs,

HIAS' Statement Regarding the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for FY 2011

Posted by Genever McBain on Tue, May 04, 2010 at 12:05 pm

HIAS' Senior VP for Policy & Programs, Mark Hetfield, today is at the annual public hearing of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, which was convened by the Department of State. Below is his statement regarding the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for Fiscal Year 2011.

(Arlington, VA – 5/4/10) – Since the enactment of the Refugee Act of 1980, HIAS and the American Jewish community have resettled nearly 340,000 Jews from Iran and the former Soviet Union in partnership with

Arizona Advocacy Adventures

Posted by Genever McBain on Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 16:28 pm

Below are the reflections of Viktor Morozov, a recent graduate of Arizona State University who participated in the HIAS Young Leaders Advocacy Mission to Washington, DC in September 2009. He and his family were assisted by HIAS in coming to the US from Kiev, Ukraine in 1994.

As I write this blog, my home State of Arizona has passed one of the most controversial, toughest and – in my opinion – unconstitutional anti-immigrant laws. SB 1070, as it’s known, gives

White House Naturalization Ceremony; HIAS Reflections

Posted by Gideon Aronoff on Fri, Apr 23, 2010 at 20:04 pm

I’m on the train heading home after a tremendously inspiring day in Washington, DC, where I saw firsthand the power of American patriotism and the way that our calling to welcome immigrants and protect refugees can reinvigorate our country. This morning I had the honor of being present as part of a very small number of invited guests at a Rose Garden ceremony swearing-in of 24 immigrant members of the U.S. military as new citizens of the United

Getting what you wish for

Posted by Roberta Elliott on Wed, Apr 07, 2010 at 16:28 pm

Sometimes you actually get what you wish for – and there are no regrets involved. Last November, I celebrated my adult bat mitzvah at Bnai Keshet Reconstructionist Congregation in Montclair, NJ. In preparation, I assigned myself a project that was suited to the subject of the Torah parsha, or portion of the Bible, that I studied for my ceremony. The subject, in broad terms, was “kindness to the stranger;” my project was to visit detainees at Elizabeth Detention Center (EDC),

Treating the Stranger with Compassion at Passover; Who Will Join Us This Year at Our Seder Tables?

Posted by Gideon Aronoff on Fri, Mar 19, 2010 at 10:45 am

In this festive season, as we prepare to join together with our closest family and friends to celebrate Passover, we are reminded that the Jewish people are obligated to transmit the lessons of the holiday to each new generation. This duty exists for Jewish families, but also for the community as a whole – including organizations like HIAS that seek to engage members of the Jewish community to address our most compelling humanitarian, social, and political challenges.

At HIAS, we strive

The 20th Anniversary of the Lautenberg Amendment

Posted by Genever McBain on Fri, Mar 12, 2010 at 11:05 am

A report from Leonard Terlitsky, Director, HIAS FSU:

On March 10, the Embassy of the United States in Moscow held a reception and a panel discussion to mark twenty years since the Congress had passed the amendment to the U.S. Immigration Law.

The amendment was introduced by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D- NJ) in 1989 and in time became known as the Lautenberg Amendment. It re-focused U.S. immigration policies on persecuted religious and ethnic minorities of special interest to the people of

Jewish Activism in Times of International Crisis: Responding to Massive Human Rights Violations and Natural Disasters

Posted by Mark Hetfield on Thu, Mar 04, 2010 at 13:51 pm

Haiti is no stranger to tragedy – I lived there while working for the US government in 1994, when a junta ruled the country by terror, after toppling President Aristide. Between the time I left in September 1994 and the earthquake, Haiti suffered through multiple political crises and no fewer than eight natural disasters, leaving thousands dead and billions of dollars of damage in their wake. Yet this history of natural and man-made disasters seems almost trivial after

Short Memories: Jews And Immigration

Posted by Roberta Elliott on Thu, Mar 04, 2010 at 13:22 pm

Jeffrey Kaye, veteran journalist and author, recently blogged on The Huffington Post about the similarities between today’s immigrants and our Jewish immigrant ancestors…directly contradicting the nostalgic notion put forward by anti-immigrant activists that Jewish immigrants of the past were somehow different from immigrants today.

Check out his insights ...

Of Note: Advocating for Haitian Migrants and Asylum Seekers

Posted by Gideon Aronoff on Thu, Jan 21, 2010 at 16:34 pm

As we watch the heartbreaking coverage of total devastation in Haiti, we are moved as individuals – and as a community – to send comfort and support to the people of Haiti. For all of us at HIAS, it has been a great privilege this week to work with so many of you, our partners in the refugee protection community, and the U.S. government to help desperate Haitians in the U.S. and in Haiti. In this short note I wanted

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