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.