Mission and Values

Our Vision

HIAS stands for a world in which refugees find welcome, safety, and opportunity.

Our Mission

Drawing on our Jewish values and history, HIAS provides vital services to refugees and asylum seekers around the world and advocates for their fundamental rights so they can rebuild their lives.

Our History

Over one hundred years ago, the Jewish community founded HIAS (originally the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) in New York City, the immigrant gateway to America. Supporting Jews fleeing persecution and poverty in Eastern Europe, our founders were guided by the traditions, texts, and history of the Jewish people – a history of oppression, displacement, and diaspora. HIAS has since helped generations of Jews facing violence because of who they were, and HIAS remains committed to helping Jewish refugees anywhere in the world. Today, our clients at HIAS come from diverse faiths, ethnicities, and backgrounds, as do our staff. We bring our experience, history, and values to our work across five continents, ensuring that refugees today receive the vital services and opportunities they need to thrive.

How We Operate

HIAS is a learning community, committed to diversity and inclusion. We do our work with integrity, accountability, transparency, and a commitment to the highest ethical standards.

Values

Welcome • Acogimiento • Hospitalité •הכנסת אורחים  (Hachnasat Orchim)

We Welcome the Stranger

“You shall love the stranger for you were strangers…”(Deuteronomy 10:19). We are told 36 times in the Torah to love those who are strangers. For HIAS, welcome begins at our door and extends through our work with refugees, partners, and allies around the globe.

Justice • Justicia • Justice • צדק (Tzedek)

We Pursue Justice

“Justice, justice shall you pursue.” (Deuteronomy 16:20). At HIAS, we seek justice every day. Justice demands that we act for fairness and equity for all.

Empathy • Empatía • Empathie •חסד  (Chesed)

We Approach our Clients with Empathy

At HIAS, our clients come from diverse faiths, ethnicities, and backgrounds, and we understand that their stories are our story. We see our past and our future in their search for safety and a future for generations to come. “The stranger who resides among you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love the stranger as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:33).

Partnership • Compañerismo • Coopération • חברותא  (Chevruta)

We Believe in Changing the World through Partnership

“Two are better than one…For if one falls, the other will lift up their friend.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9). HIAS works humbly in partnership with others to create a more moral, ethical and just world for refugees. We collaborate with organizations and institutions that share our mission. We walk side by side with refugees and all those we serve, accompanying them in their journey towards safety and opportunity.

Courage • Coraje • Courage • אומץ (Ometz)

We Act with Courage to Build a Better World

At HIAS, we speak truth to power. We stand with courageous conviction for what is right and what will help the people we serve. The great sage Hillel challenged us to act for others and not wait a single moment to do what is right: “If not now, when?” (Pirkei Avot 1:14).

Resilience • Resiliencia • Résilience • רוח (Ruach)

We Adapt and Thrive, Continuously Demonstrating our Resilience

"A righteous person falls down seven times and gets up." (Proverbs 24:16). We are inspired every day by the resilience of refugees, asylum seekers, and displaced people worldwide. HIAS has adapted and grown stronger as we have overcome many formidable challenges throughout our history.