As the Trump Administration welcomes an historically low number of refugees into the United States, a coalition of over 30 Jewish congregations and organizations gathered on Thursday, March 22 in Los Angeles for a community-wide show of support for refugees.
The LA Jews for Refugees Assembly was convened by HIAS in partnership with the emerging Los Angeles Jews for Refugees Coalition, and brought together more than 150 people at Temple Beth Am to call on the administration to meet its obligations to protect individuals fleeing persecution and violence.
“We feel confident this is the beginning of a coalition that can help make change on an issue that is so close to the hearts of the American Jewish community,” said Chris Bubser, co-chair of the Assembly Planning committee and member of Temple Israel of Hollywood.
The event featured an organizational fair comprised of local and national refugee assistance organizations as well as a diverse program of speakers including HIAS President and CEO Mark Hetfield, Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu, Temple Beth Am Senior Rabbi Adam Kligfeld, and former Iranian refugee Farnoush Abrishami.
Additionally, participants heard from Malia Hamza, a Somali refugee and Tiyya client; Dan Schnur, professor at USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and University of California Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies; Miry Whitehill of Miry's List; Mario Fuentes, lead organizer at LA Voice; Rachael Sonntag-Bloom of Save the Syrian Children; and Amani Matabaro Tom, founding director of Action for the Welfare of Women and Children in the DRC, a partner of Jewish World Watch.
“The LA Jewish community showed up in force to raise a moral voice for refugees,” added Isabel Burton, director of community engagement programs at HIAS.
“The Assembly was the culmination of incredible work by an inspiring team of volunteer leaders – a group that will continue to build on the local and national efforts for refugees through joint events, actions and direct services.”
This event was free, however guests were encouraged to donate goods to the nonprofits Tiyya, which supports multicultural refugee communities in Orange County; Save the Syrian Children, which delivers life-saving supplies to Syrian civilians under siege; and Miry’s List, which employs new arrival chefs and provided Syrian fare at the assembly.
For a full list of cosponsors, see below.
Lead cosponsors: Temple Beth Am; Habonim Dror Camp Gilboa; Ikar; Jewish World Watch; Kehillat Israel, Pacific Palisades; Stephen Wise Synagogue; Temple Ahavat Shalom; Temple Akiba; Temple Emanuel; Temple Israel of Hollywood; The Jewish Collaborative of Orange County; and, Valley Beth Shalom.
Cosponsors: Adat Ari El; American Jewish University and the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies; Cool Shul; Congregation Kol Ami; Episcopal Diocese – Interfaith; Refugee & Immigration Service; Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion; International Rescue Committee; Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles; Miry's List; National Council of Jewish Women, Los Angeles; Save the Syrian Children; Sinai Temple; Temple Beth El of Riverside; Temple Isaiah; Temple Sinai of Glendale; The Movable Minyan, Tiyya and Westside JCC.