How To Talk About Refugees With Family & Friends
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How To Talk About Refugees With Family & Friends
Use this guide to talk to anyone in your life who is not yet part of the Jewish movement in support of refugees. Consider reaching out to someone who has expressed concern about welcoming refugees to the United States or even someone who has made disparaging remarks.
We can be advocates for refugees not only through our political activism but also in our closest relationships. Take a few minutes to listen to another person’s perspective, provide basic facts about the global refugee crisis, address hate speech, and talk about the issue in a Jewish context. We hope that these conversations will prompt some people to take action or simply begin to view refugees differently.
In addition to generating respect, listening fully will help the person you are speaking with remain more open. You’ll also come to understand why they feel the way they do and can follow up accordingly and find the places where they seem most open to change.
Challenge yourself to see things from the perspective of the person with whom you’re speaking. If they express fear, help them build empathy with refugees by telling the stories of contemporary refugees and the fears they face as they flee violence and persecution. You can find stories of today’s refugees on HIAS’ blog at www.hias.org/blog.
Draw On Your History & Values
Welcoming the stranger is both an American and Jewish value. The United States was founded to provide freedom and safety to the persecuted. Helping refugees sets an example for the nations of the world to follow. Welcoming the stranger is also a core Jewish value. Turn the page for more information about Jewish values and history to use in conversation.
Bring the Facts
A lot of anti-refugee sentiment is based on lack of, or false, information. You can help correct misunderstandings about refugees with the information on the next page.
We will wash our hands twice during our seder: now, with no blessing, to get us ready for the rituals to come; and then again later, we’ll wash again with a blessing, preparing us for the meal.
Too often during our daily lives we don’t stop and take the moment to prepare for whatever it is we’re about to do. Let's pause as we wash our hands to consider what we hope to get out of our evening together.
Throughout our history, violence and persecution have driven the Jewish people to wander in search of a safe place to call home. We are a refugee people. At the Passover Seder, we gather to retell the story of our original wandering and the freedom we found. But we do not just retell the story. We are commanded to imagine ourselves as though we, personally, went forth from Egypt – to imagine the experience of being...
In washing our hands,
we also think of those who don't get to share
in the basic human right of abundant, clean water
of people deprived of water
by the weather
in Somalia, in India, in Texas
and those deprived of water
by human action
in places like Flint, Michigan
as well as those whose homes have been ravaged
by wind and water
in Colombia, in...
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By Marge Piercy
The courage to let go of the door, the handle.
The courage to shed the familiar walls whose very
stains and leaks are comfortable as the little moles
of the upper arm; stains that recall a feast,
a child’s naughtiness, a loud blistering storm
that slapped the roof hard, pouring through.
The courage to abandon the graves dug into the hill,
The formal telling of the story of Passover is framed as a discussion with lots of questions and answers. The tradition that the youngest person asks the questions reflects the centrality of involving everyone in the seder. The rabbis who created the set format for the seder gave us the Four Questions to help break the ice in case no one had their own questions. Asking questions is a core tradition in Jewish life. If...
Use this piece before singing Hallel and think about what it means to transition from slavery to freedom.
Exodus and Liberation translate many different ways for different communities, religious groups, and individuals. Chief Tom Dostou of the Wabanaki Nation of Massachusetts offers the following prayer in an excerpt from a larger piece describing his journey across his ancestral homeland of “Turtle...
We all know about Passover, that holiday when we Jews whip out our flat, cracker-like matzah, talk about the massive exodus from Egypt, and drink a whole lot of Manischewitz wine. As it happens, though, there are a few other things you might want to know about Passover! Here are some facts about the holiday that you probably never knew:
Passover is an...
This is a modern interpretation of an ancient standard, which is part and parcel of the Seder: the Four Children. By reading and discussing the Four Children, and then responding to it through modern themes, we can come to an understanding of who we are and our relation to the our Children. The source of this section are four verses from the Tanakh which briefly mention children asking, or being told about, the Exodus...
no one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.
you only run for the border when you see the whole city running as well.
no one would leave home unless home chased you, fire under feet, hot blood in your belly.
it's not something you ever thought about doing, and so when you did - you carried the anthem under your breath, waiting until the airport toilet to tear up the passport and swallow,...
This song was written to be part of Fiddler on the Roof, but was cut from the show before it made its Broadway debut for being too slow, and comic at a moment in the show when the people of Anatevka are experiencing tragedy. It imagines a world in which the Messiah is coming, but lost, and worried about us.
Words and music by Sheldon Harnick
When Messiah comes he will say to us,
“I apologize that I...
Remember the days of old:consider the years of many generations (Deut. 32:7)
Every year, hundreds of giant sea turtles swim hundreds of miles from their homes near Brazil to a tiny island in the Atlantic Ocean in order to find their mates. For years, scientists tried to understand how the turtles could find their way every time, from so far away. It was a tiny island, and even airplanes sometimes had trouble...
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