Immigrant Justice Action Team

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


Bright News For Dark Days – December 2023

Update from Mona Rowe, on behalf of Temple Beth Am’s Welcome Circle

 Our TBA Welcome Circle has given us news to celebrate this month, despite the sadness, fear, and isolation in the worldwide Jewish community.

Gratitude for Their New Home – It has been one year since the Dolzhenkov family (Pavel and Hanna, Miroslav and Darina) arrived at SeaTac, exhausted by the circumstances and the journey. They knew little English and had only those possessions that could fit into four suitcases. Now a confident family, they continue to work hard and learn. They are grateful to Beth Am and the Welcome Circle (WC) for all that they have.

Summertime – Thanks to airline miles donated by the Welcome Circle, Hanna and the children flew to Ohio to visit her sister-in-law’s family, whom they hadn’t seen in two years. With support from Temple members, the Dolzhenkov’s son Miroslav secured a scholarship to attend YMCA Camp Orkila in the San Juan Islands. Despite never being away from his parents, not knowing other campers, and still gaining English proficiency, he loved camp, especially zip-lining! Thanks to the TBA community for donating extra fans and air conditioners to keep the apartment cool during the summer months.

Learning Never Ends – Miroslav started middle school in Kent, but because his parents are concerned that the American curricula and homework aren’t up to Ukrainian standards, he also attends an online Ukrainian school in the late afternoon. Remarkably, even during the war, Ukraine offers math, science, and English courses to students in the diaspora. Darina started kindergarten and loves it and her teacher! She has a Ukrainian friend from Head Start in her school, and already received an award for being an attentive and outstanding student. Hanna started a second semester in English Level 4 at Highline College and, after a full workday, Pavel tries to improve his English using free access to Rosetta Stone. Pavel also bought a self-paced course to learn IOS programming.

Perks of a Job – Pavel’s employer TES held a raffle for employees and he won an 84-inch (used) Sony TV. The family was overwhelmed by this “never-seen-such-a-large” TV. To sell or not to sell is the newest dilemma.

Cars: Can’t Live with Them, Can’t Live Without Them – The Subaru had real troubles over the summer and Pavel was determined to fix it himself. After isolating the problem, he found a Russian-speaking electrician and worked for a month to painstakingly replace much of the electrical system. The car runs better now and continues to be their key to job security and enjoying Seattle.

Moving on Up – As the school year evolved, Pavel and Hanna had growing concerns about Miroslav’s school and local safety. Since their lease in Kent was up, Pavel and Hanna decided to find another apartment. Through great luck, they’ve moved into a smaller, non-updated apartment on Mercer Island that costs less than their first one in Kent. Hopefully this means better schools, but it also meant some downsizing. They’ve learned that there are at least three Ukrainian families living in their new complex, and one of the little girls is even in Darina’s kindergarten class.

Todah Rabah! Huge thanks to all of the Welcome Circle members for their fine work and their time commitment over the past year, to TBA congregants who offered financial support, to HIAS for coordinating the Uniting for Ukraine program, and to the TBA rabbis and leadership for overall support of our effort to sponsor this family that fled from the war in Ukraine.


The Jewish Coalition for Immigrant Justice NW (JCIJ) is now incorporated as a nonprofit, has a Facebook page, and will soon have a website, too. JCIJ has several ways for you to get involved with supporting immigrants in our local community, including those needing urgent assistance at Riverton Park church in Tukwila. To learn more and contact JCIJ, click on these links:


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 year, 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 AIDNW’s updated Amazon Wish List.


  • 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.


There are several ways to consider shaping a bar/bat mitzvah project that will allow you to bring awareness to the global refugee crisis and act in support of the U.S. refugee resettlement program. Click here for HIAS b-mitzvah project suggestions.


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.