HIAS Blog

Of Note: HIAS Helps Reunite Darfuri Family; Combats Legal Limbo Confronting Children of Refugees

Posted by Gideon Aronoff on Mon, Jun 22, 2009 at 10:09 am

The Talmud instructs us that To Save One Life is to Save the Entire World. At HIAS, the international migration agency of the American Jewish community, we witnessed a powerful example of this eternal Jewish teaching earlier this week when a year-long HIAS advocacy campaign to reunite a four-year-old Darfuri girl with her parents came to a joyful conclusion. This young child, Wesal Adam, was separated from her mother and father for much of her life because of a tragic


Of Note: HIAS and the New Chalutzim- Creating an Asylum System in Israel

Posted by Gideon Aronoff on Wed, Feb 25, 2009 at 12:59 pm

HIAS has been a proud partner of the State of Israel since its founding, contributing to the ingathering of new immigrants and helping to create new institutions for the Jewish State. HIAS assisted Jews from Poland, Germany, Russia, Romania, Turkey, Yemen, Morocco, Ethiopia and other countries to immigrate to Israel. In 1955, HIAS contributed to the development of the Negev region when we established “HIAS House in the Negev,” a hostel for new arrivals coming to build the land.

While Israel’s


Of Note: New Year's Promise- A Time of Renewal for American Immigration and Refugee Policy

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


Of Note: The Challenge- Be Today's Maccabees

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


Of Note: Reflections on a Covenant of Citizenship at Thanksgiving

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


Of Note: "No More Postvilles"; HIAS in the Heartland

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


Of Note: HIAS' Contributions to America, Reflections for the Fourth of July

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


Of Note: MyStory.hias.org - Retelling the Exodus Saga of our Times

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


Of Note: The Promise and Power of Interfaith Advocacy

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


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