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COVID-19 Update: Refugee Resettlement & Immigrant Justice Work

You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the Land of Egypt. -Exodus 23:9 

As we prepare for Passover and our annual retelling of the story of our exodus from slavery and oppression, it's hard not to think of present day migrants, refugees and immigrants. The COVID-19 pandemic impacts everyone. While many of us are able to keep safe at home, practicing social distancing, stocking up on groceries, maybe even rediscovering the joys of baking or a long forgotten hobby, thousands of undocumented families here in our community are struggling after massive layoffs from restaurants, service work, hotels, and other industries. They are urgently trying to meet their basic needs like food, diapers, and soap -- scrambling to find money for rent, utilities, and medical bills. Others are working in "essential" industries, but are threatened with layoffs if they stay home from work, and forced to choose between an income and their family's safety.   


1. USE YOUR VOICE: Call your Representative and ask them to take action to protect immigrants in detention centers or release them. Staff and detainees at Stewart Detention Center (where several Judea members visited last June) have tested positive for COVID-19. Detainees are not able to practice social distancing or maintain hygiene (soap is not provided, for example). Medically vulnerable immigrants should be released immediately. Find YOUR rep:

2. CONTRIBUTE: If you can, please consider making a contribution to the Immigrant Solidarity Fund administered by CWS Durham.  If you can't right now, pledge here to share part of your COVID Emergency Relief Check (deposit) with this fund. 

3. LEARN: Register to attend the Tuesday, April 7 virtual panel on disproportionate impact of the COVID Pandemic on immigrant communities, More information and registration link at

4. JOIN: Carolina Jews for Justice 2nd Night Virtual Seder For Survival and Beyond. More info and registration link at

5. VOLUNTEER: Recently arrived refugees are in need of English tutors/conversation partners. You can volunteer from the comfort of your home to tutor using a pre-set curriculum and the WhatsApp messaging application. Contact CWS Durham Volunteer Coordinator Sina Naseri for more information.

Refugee Resettlement & Immigrant Justice 

The Eternal said to Abram, "Go forth from your land, your birthplace, your father's house, to the land that I will show you." - Genesis 12:1

JRC’s Refugee Resettlement and Immigrant Justice Initiative works to make sure America remains a place which welcomes immigrants seeking safety. We welcome newly arriving refugees, helping them build a foundation to be productive members of our community. As part of our covenant with the world, we stand and act in solidarity with sister houses of faith to protect and defend our immigrant sisters and brothers. Join us in acts of solidarity. 

We partner with CWS (Church World Service – Durham) to resettle refugees locally and with HIAS (originally the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), The RAC’s North American Immigrant Justice Initiative , and the Triangle Interfaith Advocates for Refugees and Immigrants to support more welcoming policies nationally and locally.

Sign up here for monthly updates and occasional advocacy alerts.  We are a lay-led subcommittee of the Social Action Committee.

Upcoming Refugee Resettlement and Immigrant Justice Activities

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Family separation moral state of emergency

Moral Emergency: As crying children are taken from their parents’ arms, the American Jewish community must not remain silent.

To those who are targeted by the cruel policies of the present administration, know that the Jewish community hears your cries. We will take risks to support you, and we will demand that our nation’s leaders take action. We will not abide the claim that people didn’t know or understand the extent of your suffering; we will not allow your torment to be in vain. Jewish leaders have declared a Moral Emergency. Stand with immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers, with the children, and with their parents. Join in declaring: Not here. Not now. Not in our name. Individuals sign on here.

Fri, May 29 2020 6 Sivan 5780