Refugee Response - Welcoming the Stranger

Please let us know how you would like to get involved!

Over the past several months, the Beth El Temple Center Refugee Response Team has begun to support refugee families who newly arrived in Boston.  More than 75 people have been involved in the January panel on refugee issues and the subsequent activities since that time.  Over the past months, we have helped welcome two refugee families as they arrived at Logan airport, collected and delivered household supplies, furniture and clothing for  refugee families, helped BETC members sign up for advocacy updates from HIAS and RAC, developed an insert for the Passover seder related to the plight of refugees, made and delivered welcome baskets for new families, and collected hundreds of shoes to be sent to a refugee camp in Greece.

There is so much more we can do! Will you help? Please fill out the brief survey to let us know how you might be able to be involved.

The Refugee Response team’s goals are to:

  • Serve the needs of refugees, asylum seekers, or other recent immigrants making a new home in the US.
  • Partner with one or more established refugee support organizations. Our current partner is RIAC –the Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center based in Jamaica Plain. We are also participating in the Belmont Religious Council’s Resettle Together program with International Institute of New England.
  • Find short-term opportunities to help –to capitalize on recent enthusiasm- and be open to how opportunities may evolve over time.
  • Determine ways we can help as a BETC community – not just as individuals.
  • Offer both direct contact/involvement (like shared meals) and indirect contact/involvement (like donating supplies) with families in need.

We are open to helping people of all religions, ethnicities, and origin.

In addition to our community efforts with our partner organization(s), to provide other periodic opportunities to help refugees through the activities of other groups as well as a listing of resources/ideas to BETC members on what different individuals (doctors, social workers, lawyers, ESL teachers, etc) can do based on their skill sets.

 

View the January 2016 Panel Discussion with leaders from four refugee assistance organizations: Mercy Corps, HIAS, CLSACC, & RIAC.  See below for more information about these and other groups.

 

Please join us!  For more information, contact any of the following: 

Amy Rosenstein (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ), Paulette Black (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ), Gina Coplon-Newfield (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ), Timothy Roach (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ), or Abby Fisher (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

 

How you can help:

  • Direct Action
    • We are working with the Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center (RIAC) to provide support to two families who have recently settled in Boston.  For more information, contact Gina Coplon-Newfield (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) or Paulette Black (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    • Volunteer your time or skills, donate furniture — [in progress: we are developing a more detailed list of opportunities]  
  • Educate: Raise this issue with friends and neighbors; discuss it over coffee or dinner.
  • Advocacy: Sign up for action alerts at www.RAC.org on many Social Justice topics and www.HIAS.org  to sign up for refugee-specific alerts. Call your representatives on matters that affect refugees.
  • Give: Consider donating one day of your earnings or whatever you can afford to support refugees in transition and advocacy efforts. You can contribute via BETC online (be sure to select Social Action) or send a check to BETC (memo: Social Action refugee response). 

 

Selected Resources 

  • The HIAS Resources page has excellent information on the global refugee crisis and how congregations can respond.  They also have Passover materials
  • At the RAC's Passover holiday guide page you can find Hagaddah inserts on the refugee crisis.   

 

We are partnering with these other groups:  

  • The Refugee & Immigrant Assistance Center (RIAC), a community-based, grassroots organization dedicated to promoting educational and socio-economic development in Massachusetts refugee and immigrant communities.
  • Mercy Corps works worldwide in more than 40 countries. Its goals include providing emergency relief in times of crisis, then moving quickly to help communities recover and build resilience to future shocks; and promoting sustainable change by supporting initiatives that are community-led, market-driven and promote good governance.
  • HIAS (The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) works throughout the US and in many other countries on refugee protection and resettlement.  It is the only Jewish organization designated by the federal government to undertake refugee resettlement. 
  • The Boston Center for Refugee Health & Human Rightsprovides holistic health care coordinated with social services and legal aid for asylum seekers, refugees, survivors of torture, and their families.
  • The Community and Legal Services Counseling Center's Immigration Unit helps asylum seekers, including torture survivors, victims of gender-based violence, and other special vulnerable immigrant populations.