HIAS National Refugee Shabbat

Refugee Shabbat 2023 takes place on February 3-4 and offers congregations, organizations, and individuals in the United States and around the world the chance to dedicate a Shabbat experience to refugees and asylum seekers.  

JFS is honored to contribute to the global effort to help refugees and immigrants who are fleeing violence and conflict and working to establish new lives in the Puget Sound area, including Ukrainians and Afghans. Last year, JFS also launched a humanitarian relief program to support asylum seekers, survivors of sex and labor trafficking, and unaccompanied minors.

The Jewish community understands what it’s like to leave one’s home and resettle in a foreign land. That historic experience fuels our desire to help refugees and immigrants make a successful transition to self-sufficiency and safety.

In observance of National Refugee Shabbat 2023, join us in this important work as individuals, part of a congregation, or as community members!

Discussion questions for consideration: 

  • Have you ever felt like a stranger? Reflect on when/where you experienced feeling like a stranger. How did that feel? What did you do to address that feeling? Who, if anyone, stepped up to welcome you?
  • Many Jewish people have a family history of needing to flee targeted violence. Do you know your family history of leaving a home country and coming to the United States? If so, how do you think that’s impacted you and your family?
  • We are currently witnessing a tremendous refugee crisis: Tens of thousands of Afghan and Ukrainian refugees have been forced to leave their homes, their countries and everything they knew and loved. What can you do, as an individual or a family, to support newly arrived refugees?
  • Judaism teaches us to not only welcome but care for immigrants: “You shall not mistreat a stranger and you shall not oppress him. For you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” What does that look like for you and your family/ your congregation?


Project Kavod Spotlight: Refugee & Immigrant Services
Wednesday, February 8, 12:00-1:00 pm
Hybrid (in-person or virtual).

Join Marissa Busch, a member of our humanitarian relief team, and Rabbi Laura Rumpf, Director of Project Kavod, for a dynamic and informative learning session highlighting ways we are called on in the Jewish tradition to support immigrants and refugees. We are joining Jewish communities around the country in celebrating HIAS Refugee Shabbat this month and particularly elevating JFS’ local work supporting unaccompanied youth.

Register to join us on-site at the JFS Seattle Campus or attend this event virtually. Register now.


Build a backpack, welcome a refugee!
Help fill backpacks for teens who come to the United States as unaccompanied minors or who are survivors of labor or sex trafficking. Purchase supplies from our wish list that will help make them feel comfortable and welcome as they are starting their new lives. Fill a backpack.

Give the gift of warmth!
Donate a new winter coat and provide resettled refugees a necessity they do not have when they arrive and one that is too expensive to purchase. Learn more.

Welcome the stranger!
By purchasing a household item from our wish list, you are helping to provide a newly resettled family with the essential items they need to furnish their new homes. Go to wish list.

Donate your time!
Join our volunteer on-call list to support our resettlement work. Potential opportunities include apartment setups, grocery shopping, ESL tutoring, and more! Email volunteer@jfsseattle.org for more information!

Support refugees with a donation to JFS!
Make a gift to support our ongoing efforts to welcome and resettle refugees, including Afghans and Ukrainians, to the Puget Sound. Donate Now.

Refugee Shabbat 2023 is a moment for congregations, organizations, and individuals around the country to dedicate a Shabbat experience to refugees and asylum seekers. This special Shabbat has even gone international with communities in Canada, Europe, and around the world taking part. 

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