A group of Kehilla members who are involved in many different aspects of immigration-related work or refugee support met on March 31st to share information and to inaugurate this new Kehilla committee with a heartfelt Shehecheyanu. The purpose of the committee is to provide mutual support for the work we are each doing and to facilitate communication among ourselves and with all of Kehilla.
Individuals at the initial meeting are currently involved in the following activities (and more):
- helping newly arrived Central American immigrants through accompaniment teams,
- participating in monthly vigils at the West County Detention Facility
- supporting domestic workers (many of whom are immigrants) through the organization Hand in Hand
- working as an asylum officer
- attending the East Bay Interfaith Immigration Coalition on behalf of Kehilla
- joining with Jewish Voices for Peace in support of Syrian refugees and Welcome Here campaign
- hosting and supporting LGBT refugees through Jewish Family and Community Services
- going to Greece to help refugees as they disembark on the beach
- working as a deportation defense attorney
- exploring options for housing for refugees
The group brainstormed many ideas for what the committee might do in the future in the areas of educational events, political advocacy and direct services.
We plan to meet quarterly and to form ad hoc committees as needed to plan specific events. We have created two new email lists, one for those who would like to participate in the committee or to know what is going on in the committee, and one for those who would like to share or receive information about immigration or refugee support events and actions. We do not anticipate a high volume of emails on either of these lists. If you would like to be on one or both of these lists, or if you would like more information about the committee, please contact Julie Litwin and Frances Kreimer at ImmigrationCommitteeChairs@kehillasynagogue.org.