Yom Rivii, 18 Elul 5779
Wednesday, 18 September 2019
Liberal Judaism: Refugees are welcome

10th September 2015

Liberal Jewish communities around the UK are preparing for the High Holy Days by welcoming and supporting refugees.

A campaign that Liberal Judaism began more than 13 months ago, on Sukkot 2014, has been given a new urgency in recent days – uniting all religious and community leaders.

ljrefugeeswelcomeLiberal Judaism’s senior rabbi, Rabbi Danny Rich, speaking on behalf of Liberal Judaism’s Board of National Officers (pictured left) said: “Last Sukkot, Liberal Judaism – in partnership with Citizens UK – began its ‘Sanctuary Campaign’ to persuade each local authority to agree to welcome 50 refugees under the United Nations Vulnerable Persons Scheme. At the time the British Government had offered 750 places but less than half had been completed.

“The arrival of refugees in a given area requires planning for the provision of accommodation, school places and medical practices, for example, and local people of all faiths and none began to undertake these tasks with their local authorities. It was also agreed that successful integration was vital, and Liberal synagogues offered voluntary teachers and space for basic English classes.

“The tragic image of the drowned three year old, Aylan Kurdi has suddenly awakened the efforts of all religious leaders, many politicians and much of the British public in the face of what is perhaps the greatest moral and practical challenge facing Europe in more than 50 years.

“The Jewish community – with our particular experience as a ‘wandering people’ – stands ready to provide immediate aid through the co-ordinated efforts of World Jewish Relief, and I am confident that we Jews, in partnership with British society, will more than meet our obligations in the longer term.”

Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue (NPLS) is working with local churches to act as a hub for donations, pictured below. Liberal Judaism members and communities are being asked to bring sleeping bags, winter clothing, and tents to NPLS by September 26, so that they can be sent on through West London Synagogue to those in need of shelter.

nplsrefugeeswelcomeThe Liberal Jewish Synagogue has a long-running drop-in centre for refugees, which was recently featured in The Jewish Chronicle -> http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/143229/st-johns-wood-community-offers-lifeline-asylum-seekers

South London Liberal Synagogue has begun a collection of items to go Calais in October, as well as appealing for people to rent rooms to refugees or take in children. Rabbi Janet Darley also represented Liberal Judaism at the Citizens UK outside of Westminster Cathedral that attracted more than 400 people.

Finchley Progressive Synagogue has launched a campaign to ask Barnet Council to commit to resettling 50 Syrian refugee families in the borough. Led by Rabbi Rebecca Qassim Birk, a team of volunteers have also been working on finding landlords willing to let to refugees, negotiating with local schools and increasing publicity for the campaign.

Norwich Liberal Jewish Community have been campaigning for the resettlement of some of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees for more than a year and are also looking for people who would be willing to temporarily house a refugee – in order to show Norfolk County Council that members are prepared to share their homes, if suitable housing cannot be provided for the first few days or even weeks.

Our other Liberal communities, up and down the country from Brighton to Edinburgh, are also campaigning and donating. For more details of what your local community is doing, please check their website and/or Facebook page.

Find out more ways you can help refugees, through Liberal Judaism’s partnerships with World Jewish Relief, Citizens UK, Tzelem and others, here -> http://www.liberaljudaism.org/news/1159-refugee-crisis-how-you-can-help.html