Refugee Shabbat 2023, which will take place on February 3 and 4, 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. The fastest-growing European refugee crisis since World War II is still ongoing. People seeking asylum are being turned away at borders around the world. And this year, for the first time ever, the total number of displaced persons globally is over 100 million. This is a critical moment for all of us to reaffirm and redouble our support for refugees and asylum seekers.
How to Participate
Whether you sign up to participate on behalf of your congregation or as an individual hosting an event in a home, there are many options for your Refugee Shabbat. 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.
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.
Upon registration, both individuals and congregations will receive access to HIAS’ library of Refugee Shabbat programming resources, which will include liturgical readings, sermon/d'var Torah talking points, a text study, and a list of ways that people can take action on their own or as a group. Some of these elements are still being developed and will be made available in the coming months. Participants in Canada who register for Refugee Shabbat will receive additional resources from JIAS Toronto, as well.
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 ongoing 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 February 2023).
*If the February 3-4 dates do not work for you or your community, feel free to register your participation below and choose another date in Spring 2023 that works with your calendar.
2023 National and International Co-Sponsors:
2023 Regional Co-Sponsors:
Please contact Rabbi Megan Doherty with any additional questions.