Sep 9, 2015

A Jewish Response to the current refugee crisis in Europe

A Jewish Response to the current refugee crisis in Europe
From Ruth Messinger,  President of American Jewish World Service

Dear Colleagues,

As people who work for an organization with a big heart and a powerful commitment to the dignity and rights of every person, we are deeply hurt to witness the terrible suffering of Syrian and other refugees who are being allowed to enter some European countries and kept out of others. The images are too close for comfort to those of many of our ancestors who suffered terribly in Europe just 70 years ago. 

American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is highly skilled at aiding refugees in the developing world, including those fleeing persecution and poverty or being forcefully deported from their homes, much like the Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic and the Rohingya Muslims in Burma. For the current refugee crisis unfolding in Europe, we believe we must rely on others who have expertise working on that continent to respond to this crisis.

As we won’t be raising funds to address this refugee crisis directly, we are asking all of you who receive calls and emails from those who wish to donate to efforts to support refugees in Europe to give to one of the following organizations: 
·         The Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief, of which we are a member, is collecting donations and will be making quality grants. This is a trusted coalition, and we can recommend donating to it without hesitation.
·         HIAS, which is also a member of the Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief, is responding both with aid and a call to action to demand that our government do more to welcome refugees here in the United States.
·         Human Rights Watch, who is working with Syrian Refugees in Central Asia and Europe to document efforts to block access to asylum and deprive asylum seekers of rights to a fair hearing of refugee claims, among other important work.
·         International Medical Corps, who is setting up mobile medical units to provide primary healthcare, treat respiratory infections and provide surgical care to refugees in the region and throughout Europe. 
We believe that encouraging others to donate to these organizations is the most productive and constructive course of action we can recommend.

I thank all of you for providing this counsel to anyone who asks and for caring as much as you do.

In this coming New Year, I wish for a world with no refugees and a safe home for every person on this earth.


Ruth W. Messinger, President
American Jewish World Service
45 West 36th Street, New York NY  10018