Posted by Gideon Aronoff on Thu, Jan 08, 2009 at 12:50 pm
2008 was a tremendously eventful year – with dramatic political, economic, and social changes that will profoundly affect the future of the United States and the entire world. While much uncertainty exists, advocates for humane and effective refugee and immigration policy look to 2009, and the new Administration and Congress, with great hope and excitement. Like every New Year and every governmental transition, this is a season of renewal: one that offers us a chance to build on our country’s
Posted by Gideon Aronoff on Fri, Dec 26, 2008 at 12:48 pm
Chanukah is often viewed as a holiday of little spiritual significance in the Jewish holiday calendar– a celebration whose importance is enhanced simply by its proximity to Christmas. Yet, its story provides vitally important teachings that can embolden and inspire ordinary individuals to accomplish great deeds against unimaginable odds, and is deeply meaningful for those of us engaged in refugee and immigration work.
At Chanukah we celebrate the ultimately successful three-year struggle for religious freedom of the tiny Jewish resistance, the
Posted by Gideon Aronoff on Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 12:47 pm
As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, we at HIAS and all Americans stop to reflect on the joys of our individual lives – our families, careers, and material successes. But our gratitude goes far beyond these personal concerns to the gifts America has provided our community, and the American people as a whole.
For Jewish-Americans – and to all who cherish our country’s identity as a pluralistic nation of immigrants – we trace our communal blessings back to a 1790 exchange of
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 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
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