Immigrant Justice Action Team

Welcoming immigrants and refugees is embedded deep in the core of our Temple’s history and Jewish tradition. In fact, it is a commandment mentioned 36 times in the Torah. Email TBAImmigrantJustice@gmail.com to join the Immigrant Justice Action Team, receive our emails, and find out how you can get involved.

HIAS REFUGEE SHABBAT – February 3, 2023

Please join us on Friday, February 3 at 6:15 PM for a special Shabbat service, with guest speaker Rabbi Megan Doherty, Senior Educator at HIAS. Founded as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society in 1881 to assist Jews fleeing pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe, HIAS has touched the lives of nearly every Jewish family in America and now welcomes all who are fleeing persecution. We are grateful for the invaluable help from HIAS staff as they facilitated our sponsorship of a Ukrainian family this year. Our guest speaker, Rabbi Megan Doherty, has deep ties to Seattle and Temple Beth Am; she grew up here and her parents are active members of Temple Beth Am. This service will take place both in-person and live-streamed on YouTube here.

Resettling a Family Fleeing from Ukraine

Pavel, Hanna, Miroslav and Darina arrived safely in Seattle on Dec. 10 after a long journey.  They left behind siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and parents to start anew here in the Pacific NW.  Their apartment in Kent is walking distance to Miroslav’s elementary school, several grocery stores, a medical clinic and more.

  • Learn- Click here to join TBA’s Immigrant Justice email list and get occasional updates about ways you can support refugees and asylum seekers.
  • Offer Donated Items, Housing, and In-Kind Services– If you are interested in donating items, your time, or skills, please see our list of needs (which will we continue to update!).
  • Donate– Just $50 can help feed the family, $75 can stock their pantry, $100 can cover a month’s electric bill and $750 can pay a third of a month’s rent. Click here to donate, and select “Immigration Justice Fund” under “Fund.” Donations will be used to resettle the Ukrainian family, and any excess monies will be used for other immigration-related activities supported by the Temple.

AIDNW Needs Our Help

AIDNW assists immigrants as they are released from detention at Tacoma’s Northwest ICE Processing Center (formerly called the Northwest Detention Center). After spending days, weeks, or months in detention, the newcomers are greeted by AIDNW volunteers who provide them with backpacks and seasonally appropriate clothing and help arrange transportation to their next destinations. This summer, Beth Am partnered with the sisterhood of Temple Beth El in Tacoma to provide sack lunches for travelers. Click here to learn about volunteering with AIDNW. Click here for an updated Amazon Wish List of AIDNW’s specific needs.

Afghan Refugee Resettlement Effort

In August 2021, a team from TBA, in collaboration with Congregation Beth Shalom, met with Jewish Family Service (JFS) and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to welcome Afghan Refugees to Seattle and provide them with furnished homes. Over the next four months we helped collect items for two full households, and to manage the actual move-in. We organized volunteers, raised funds, and recruited in-kind donations to set up apartments for two newly arrived Afghan refugee families.

TBA Volunteers took on moving, storing, and setting up apartments. We collected over $6,000 of new household items for two families.  In addition, dozens of beautiful afghans were knitted for the family members.  Through our efforts, two families, newly arrived in our community, now have safe homes. And we continue to work with JFS and IRC moving in other families, providing citizenship classes and other help.

There are so many ways that we can continue to help “our newly arrived community members” feel safe and welcome.  Partnering with JFS and IRC has opened many more opportunities to engage including setting up more apartments, expanding legal support opportunities, or fulfilling other JFS and IRC volunteer support requests. The Torah tells us 36 times to “welcome the stranger,” and that’s exactly what we are continuing to do.

Learn about U.S. immigration policies:

  • Find out the differences between refugees and asylum seekers by clicking here or here.
  • Watch a free webinar on “Immigration for Beginners” or “Asylum for Beginners,” produced by Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, a local nonprofit advocacy group.
  • Join the efforts of HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit.
  • See what the Reform Movement’s Religious Action Center is doing to support immigrants.

Temple Beth Am 2017 Resolution for Immigrant Justice

With our Board of Directors’ action in 2017, Temple Beth Am joined a growing cohort of Reform congregations that signed the Religious Action Center’s Brit Olam (Covenant with our World) and declared themselves to be Immigrant Justice Congregations. Read the Board’s Resolution on becoming an Immigrant Justice Congregation here