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.
Special Online Events
- Saturday, March 6, 8pm ET - HIAS Refugee Shabbat havdalah service - click here for more info and to register for free. This event will also be broadcast on Facebook live.
- Sunday, March 7, 1:30pm ET - Join our program Perspectives on the Global Jewish Movement for Refugees - click here for more info and to register for free.
How to Participate
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 is pleased to provide programming resources that include a liturgical reading, 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. You can download that resource here. A pre-recorded video message from HIAS CEO and President Mark Hetfield will be shared with all registered communities in mid-February. If you are located in Canada, our partners at JIAS Toronto will provide resource materials that apply to the Canadian context.
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).
*If the March 5-6 dates do 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.
Please contact Rabbi Rachel Grant Meyer with any additional questions.
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(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.)
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