Our Torah teaches, “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)
We as Jews know what it is like to be immigrants, exiles, and refugees. The Torah obligates us to protect those who are vulnerable, even those who might have been our past oppressors. “You shall not abhor an Egyptian, for you were a stranger in that land” (Deuteronomy 23:8). Today, there are millions of vulnerable “strangers” around the world. We have read the headlines and seen the pictures. The crisis in Syria is especially on people’s minds. There are 3.9 million Syrian refugees outside of Syria and 7 million people displaced inside the country. Our Jewish and Canadian hearts stir and are open to help people settle here in Canada. Holy Blossom has a great tradition of reaching out our hands to refugees. We are justly proud of our efforts to assist Vietnamese “boat people” in the Seventies.
Holy Blossom Temple is going to help individual and groups of congregants organize to work with the Jewish Immigrant Aid Service Toronto (JIAS) to sponsor a Syrian family or families to be settle in the GTA. We met on September 30, 2015 to discuss the process. If you are interested I would love to see you there to utilize you energy and skills. We will need specialists in the medical, educational, and job training fields.
For more info here are links to JIAS and Lifeline Syria:
As the recent High Holy Days renewed us spirituality, let us all renew our commitment to social action.