The Crisis of Syrian and Other Refugees from the Middle East

WRJ Executive Committee Statement: September 29, 2015

WRJ Executive Committee Statement: September 29, 2015

“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

From our very inception, the Jewish people have known what it is to be displaced from home. We are commanded repeatedly to recall what it is to be a stranger. For millennia, the image of the wandering Jew and the longing for a homeland have haunted our people. And more recently, we recall the horror of closed borders in the 20th century that sent so many of our sisters and brothers back to their deaths.

As Reform Jewish women sitting in the relative safety of North America, we cannot stand idly by as the current refugee crisis festers in Europe and the Middle East. The civil war in Syria as well as instability in much of the Middle East has led to a flood of refugees, not only near the war zone but pouring into Europe as well.

Our heritage cries out to us to not be complicit in the closing of borders and to do what we can to alleviate the suffering of those who have been forced from their homes. Never again will we sit silently as men, women, and children are turned back into a war zone. 

Women of Reform Judaism throughout our history has been a voice for those who have no voice. Annually between 1946 and 1949, we called for aid to the displaced persons of Europe and for increased immigration of those refugees. Today’s crisis is no less urgent.

The Executive Committee of Women of Reform Judaism therefore:

  1. Calls on the governments of the United States and Canada to admit as many refugees as possible as expediently as possible and urges our members to similarly urge their governments to action.
  2. Calls on our members to assist in resettling refugees in their communities as such opportunities become available. (See for example, Holy Blossom Temple.)
  3. Calls on our members to educate themselves regarding the current crisis and to donate and raise funds for refugee relief.
  4. Calls on the governments of the United States and Canada to urge all nations to open their borders and to work with the international community to find a solution to the current crisis.