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Supporting Refugees In Our Community

Since Rabbi Joey challenged us with a call to action at Kol Nidre, groups of Havurah members have been discussing how we can support refugees in our community.  We have researched options, met with representatives from local organizations that work with refugees, and have had a number of in-depth conversations about how best to engage Havurah members in efforts to support refugees.

The Steering Committee has approved a statement to support refugees. This is a great first step, and there is much more work to be done. Our first partnership is with Catholic Charities, a refugee resettlement agency that helps new refugee families settle in our community. Havurah is going to work together with Catholic Charities to gather items to furnish and set up apartments for new refugee families. We will also be recruiting and training "Cultural Navigators" to help support families as they settle in Portland.

In addition, we are exploring partnerships with the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) and Morrison Center. IRCO has opportunities to tutor/mentor refugee youth, and Morrison Center supports unaccompanied refugee minors that are placed here while they search for sponsors. Some of these children need foster homes while that search happens. We are still working on viable ways to partner with these organizations; watch Hakol and community emails for more information in the coming months.

Here is how you can help right now:

Give things:

  • Look at the list of what we need for our first apartment, and let us know what you can donate. Here is a list of items we need.
  • Once we have more specific information on the family we will be sponsoring, we will update the list and provide additional information on how to drop off items. For more information, email Susan Lazareck.

Give time:

Give money:

  • Make a donation to the TIkkun Olam Fund to support our activities. Send your check to Havurah with a note that it is for the Tikkun Olam Fund, or make a donation here.

Take action:

  • Work with a small group of Havurah members to share the statement of support with other Jewish organizations and congregations, and ask them to join us to support refugees. Contact Liz Schwartz.

The Refugee Support Project is an opportunity for all of us to come together to help our community be a more just and welcoming place for our newest neighbors, no matter where they come from. Please join us in whatever way works for you at this time. There will always be refugees coming to Portland; with that in mind, we want to organize this project in a sustainable way under the umbrella of the Tikkun Olam Committee, which will allow us to engage Havurah members when they have the time and capacity to help.

If you have suggestions, or want to help with planning outside of the items listed above, please contact Chris Coughlin.

Sun, August 9 2020 19 Av 5780