National Refugee Shabbat

Refugee Shabbat 2021, which will take place on March 5-6*, is a moment for congregations, organizations, and individuals in the United States and around the world to dedicate a Shabbat experience to refugees and asylum seekers.

*If this date does not work for you or your community, feel free to register your participation below and simply choose another date in Spring 2021 that works with your calendar.


Your community’s participation in Refugee Shabbat can be as multifaceted as you would like. It could be the culmination of a week of action on refugee issues, a moment to simply focus on learning more about the global refugee crisis in a Jewish context, or an opportunity to convene Jewish (or interfaith) congregations to learn and chart a course of action together. The choice is yours.

Whether you sign up to participate on behalf of your congregation or as an individual hosting an event in your home, there are a number of options for what your Refugee Shabbat could look like.

Congregations might consider including a liturgical reading on the theme of the refugee crisis in Shabbat services and/or dedicating a sermon or text study to the topic. If you have a relationship with a refugee or refugee professional in your local community, consider inviting that person to speak during services. You might also plan an educational program after Friday evening services or after Saturday morning services.

For individuals and congregations alike, HIAS will provide programming resources that will include several do-it-yourself-style educational programs that you may find helpful as you build out your programming. To get a sense of what kinds of materials will be available, you can check out last year’s Programming Content Resource. Check back here in January 2021 for this year’s resource.

We encourage you to think through which of these options would be the most appealing to you and/or your community. Congregations and organizations may also want to begin identifying possible community partners (e.g., other synagogues, local organizations, etc.) and finding the right space for the program.

Given the uncertainty around COVID-19, HIAS is preparing resources that will work either online or in-person (in accordance with public health guidelines in place in March 2021).



Academy for Jewish Religion (AJR)

American Jewish Committee (AJC)

American Jewish World Service (AJWS)

Anti-Defamation League (ADL)

Canadian Council for Reform Judaism (CCRJ)

Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR)

European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS)

European Union for Progressive Judaism (EUPJ)

Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA)

JIAS Toronto

Limmud Europe

Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies (NJHSA)

NFTY - The Reform Jewish Youth Movement 


Paideia - The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden

Reconstructing Judaism

Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association (RRA)

T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights

Union for Reform Judaism (URJ)

United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ)

United Synagogue Youth (USY)

Uri L'Tzedek



Please contact Rabbi Rachel Grant Meyer with any additional questions.



(Note: If you are located in Canada, HIAS will share your registration with our Canadian partner, JIAS Toronto, who will provide resource materials applicable to the Canadian context.)


By submitting this form you will be added to our mailing list to receive periodic updates from HIAS. You may unsubscribe at any time. Here's our privacy policy