By Rachel Loria
Rabbi Ahuva and our Rabbinic intern Jules Ilian celebrated our annual Refugee Shabbat last month with new readings, a guest speaker, a social action project, and a fun art activity.
Crime, political unrest, climate and economics have propelled migration from the south to the U.S. border. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights compels the U.S. as a signatory to allow entry to those seeking asylum.
Border states are feeling the pressure of those admitted for adjudication and are bussing people to northern communities to share the burden. New York has received more than 80,000 asylum seekers.
Congregant Maria Simon moved from New York, where she had chaired the board of the nonprofit (https://www.mixteca.org/en/home ) Mixteca. She shared that the agency is overwhelmed with meeting asylee needs.
This year Mixteca has helped over 8,000 individuals with essential services To ease the burden, we collected gift cards to Target, which are easily accessible to the refugees. We quickly collected over $590 in Target gift cards! (See photos above)
These were mailed with 50 encouraging bilingual note cards, designed by our Rabbinic intern Jules Ilian and decorated by talented congregants after services.
At the Refugee Shabbat service, we heard from Mixteca director Mishelle Brito who via the magic of zoom, shared more about asylee needs and their services, which beyond food and other necessities, include: translation services, assistance in accessing benefits, immigration information, adult education and workforce development training.
On a local level we are partnering with (https://shcrichmond.org/)Sacred Heart Center, serving the Latino population here in South Richmond. Sacred Heart, in addition to other services, has a food bank that serves over 300-400 people each week.
We collected 3-4 large bins worth of food tailored to newcomer tastes for the Sacred Heart Center’s food pantry. (See photo)
Thanks, Or Ami, for welcoming the stranger!
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