Tuesday, September 22, 2015

As We Approach Yom Kippur

Refugees are streaming into Europe from Syria and beyond. Can we, today, imagine what it feels like to flee for our safety? As we enter into the holiest day of the year, seeking to make our way forward into the new year  in a manner at least somewhat better than we did last year, let us keep in mind all those whose plight is less fortunate than ours. Let us acknowledge our privilege. Let us seek to open our hearts and minds to those who fear for their lives. 

Let us open as well, our wallets, and help the refugees. Here are the organizations recommended by American Jewish World Service: 

·         The Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief is collecting donations and will be making quality grants. This is a trusted coalition, and AJWS recommends donating to it without hesitation.
·         HIAS, which is also a member of the Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief, is responding both with aid and a call to action to demand that our government do more to welcome refugees here in the United States.
·         Human Rights Watch, who is working with Syrian Refugees in Central Asia and Europe to document efforts to block access to asylum and deprive asylum seekers of rights to a fair hearing of refugee claims, among other important work.
·         International Medical Corps, who is setting up mobile medical units to provide primary healthcare, treat respiratory infections and provide surgical care to refugees in the region and throughout Europe

It is the least we can do, an act of humility and compassion, and an acknowledgement of the pain in the world.

G'mar chatimah tovah - May all of us, all the inhabitants of this Earth, both individually and collectively, indeed have a good year, a year that is better, safer, more compassionate, and more aware.

Rabbi Katy Z. Allen

Rabbi Katy Allen is a board certified chaplain and serves as a Nature Chaplain and the Facilitator of One Earth Collaborative, a program of Open Spirit. She is the founder and rabbi of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope, which holds services outdoors all year long. She is the President pro-tem of the Boston-based Jewish Climate Action Network. She received her ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion

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