Love the stranger...this is the most repeated mitzvah in the Torah. It is not an option for us Jews. We have been strangers in a strange land more times than we can recount. And we survived and have thrived because of the love, generosity and support of people who welcomed us and even hid us at their own peril.
And it was not the majority of people. We know many if not most turn away from tragedy, suffering, need...Most people turn away. Most people are content to ignore refugees and a humanitarian crisis at their door step. We are not those people. We do not ignore or turn away from suffering. We can help. We will help. We do help.
We have a chance to give back. To put our loving energy into the world. To help strangers seeking refuge in our country. To make our voices heard and our compassion felt! This is hope in action.
Last week, the Jewish Coalition for Immigrant Justice NW (JCIJ), in which Kol Ami is active, and the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network (WAISN) began to prepare for the arrival of a bus with 50+ immigrants being transferred from the state of Texas to Seattle.
While the bus from Texas has not arrived yet, in the interim, WAISN and JCIJ are building a coordinated response from its many member organizations, including Kol Ami, and the City of Seattle has agreed to fund some short-term housing and other support. As a WAISN member, JCIJ has planned what we might be able to contribute to the welcome: donations of funds, food, clothing and other supplies, air miles, offers to host people in our homes, and offers to provide rides and accompaniment.
Kol Ami has committed to collect:
First Aid Kits
All donations will be collected during our Shabbat programming:
Friday 10/21 7-9pm Chapel
Saturday 10/22 9am-1pm Chapel
Friday 10/28 7-9pm
Saturday 10/29 9am-1pm
There will be bins waiting for you!
If you need to drop off a donation during a time other than those listed above please drop the items in the Kol Ami plastic bin outside the doors of the MAIN sanctuary (not the Chapel) where we had our Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services. No need to call or make arrangements. Just drop it in the box. We are not able to facilitate receiving donations at any time other than those specific times and locations listed.
How we treat the stranger in this nation reflects upon us all. Kol Ami is currently involved in refugee aid work through several active individuals in our community who put in the time and energy weekly. Thank you to Deborah Kassel-Day and Debby Heimfeld for the coat drive for Afghani refugees at the High Holidays and for your Turing and mentorship of recent immigrants. Thank you to Jan Zager who donates her legal services to refugees in our area. Thank you to Larry Behrendt for working with the Jewish Coalition for Immigrant Justice. We have many hearts and hands out there doing the good work!
We can support the work of our regular volunteers who open their homes, their calendars, their lives to refugees-who are there to receive refugees with open arms. There's a multitude of ways we can help in this world, and endless opportunities small and large for Tikkun Olam. Please never feel powerless or hopeless! We can donate items to help make the experience of a refugee easier. A first aid kit. It helps. It makes a real difference. It is not a throw away Mitzvah. It could save a life. We can help welcome the stranger - each of us!
So put in that Amazon order or make a run to your favorite store and pick up: a first aid kit, socks, underwear, a backpack, baby blanket, etc, at Target, Walmart, Fred Meyer...all of these places sell what it is that we need donated. Make it part of your errands this week and drop your donations at the synagogue over the next two Shabbats.
Questions: call or text Rabbi Kinberg 360-280-5372, want to get more involved in refugee relief work? Contact Rabbi Kinberg
For more info about Washington Immigration Solidarity Network www.WAISN.org
For more information about why Reform Jews care about Immigrant Justice https://rac.org/issues/immigration-justice
And thank you for being a part of this Kehillah Kedosha-a healing community, a caring community and a vibrant community.