Like many of you, my waking and sleeping dreams have been haunted by the image of a small boy in a red t-shirt, blue shorts and velcro sneakers. The three year old boy Aylan Kurdi who was trying to escape Syria and drowned near a Turkish beach is younger than my own children. Also like many of you, I sought out ways to help and was directed to HIAS, the American Jewish organization that works on global refugee issues and is familiar to many Jewish families who themselves were assisted by HIAS when escaping religious persecution.
As a community, we know what it is like to be strangers fleeing a homeland in search of a better, safer life for us and for our children. Let us not stand idly by.
For those who are driven to act, and hopefully that is all of us, here is a set of actions being promoted by HIAS:
HIAS has hundreds of staff on the ground in 12 countries across the globe
working to provide legal assistance, trauma counseling, and training in
sustainable livelihoods to refugees around the world. We also work with
partners to resettle thousands of refugees in the United States every year
in 22 communities around the country.
As an international refugee relief agency and a domestic resettlement
agency, HIAS is also advocating on behalf of the protection of refugees
worldwide. The single largest refugee population in the world right now is
Syrians, and HIAS is working together with a coalition of other refugee
organizations to demand leadership and action from the international
community. We are also advocating to raise the cap on the number of
refugees our government will commit to resettle here in the U.S. so that
the world’s most vulnerable people have a safe place to call home. This is
just a snapshot. To learn more about HIAS’ work go to www.hias.org.
Here’s how you can help:
*1) **Sign our petition*
calling on the President to take bold action to resettle 100,000 Syrian
refugees into the United States this year, to provide considerable
humanitarian assistance to aid to refugees abroad, and to address the root
causes of the crisis.
*2) **Join our national briefing call on the Syrian refugee*
Thursday. The call will give a comprehensive overview of what the Syrian
refugee crisis looks like, and what must be done to alleviate it.
*3) **Volunteer* <http://www.hias.org/volunteer> with refugees and
asylum seekers in your own city. Complete this form and HIAS will contact
you with more information.
to HIAS. Your donations help us to assist refugees around the world. Right
now, during the High Holiday season, your contribution will be matched and
*5) **Stay informed* on the latest developments in the global refugee
crisis by visiting www.hias.org to learn more and by receiving HIAS’ action
alerts and updates, which you can sign up for in the light blue “Sign Up”
box on the top right hand side of the HIAS homepage. Also check out the FAQs