JCC Manhattan is a central address for the Upper West Side Jewish community; as such, in response to community-wide interest in becoming more active and engaged in the issues of the day, we are sharing information and events as we become aware of them. These programs are not organized or administered by the JCC, and we do not claim credit or responsibility for the content therein. If you know of an event that should be listed on this page, please contact Rachel by clicking here. This list is subject to change, and we reserve the right to remove and add programs anytime, without notification.
HIAS presents: #NeverAgain, A Community Vigil for Refugees
On June 6, Jewish communities across the country will hold candlelight vigils to commemorate the anniversary of the day that the M.S. St. Louis began its fateful return journey to Europe, with over 900 Jewish refugees on board. Our communal experience demonstrates the tragic consequences of denying safety to refugees, and on that day, we will stand together to call on our elected officials not to repeat the mistakes of our past. That day, at 6:30 pm at 780 3rd Avenue (across from the offices of Senators Schumer and Gillibrand), our community will honor the memory of those who died after being unable to find safety in the United States. Please join us at the ceremony, and to amplify HIAS's message that the American Jewish community fully supports welcoming refugees to the United States.
Tue, June 6, 6:30-7:30 pm, 780 3rd Avenue
The New Sanctuary Coalition of New York Training
The New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC is an interfaith network of congregations, organizations, and individuals, standing publicly in solidarity with families and communities resisting detention and deportation in order to stay together. One of its major projects is the Accompaniment Program which has provided support to hundreds, if not thousands, of immigrants facing deportation or detention. The program pairs immigrants in final removal proceedings with volunteers who accompany them to their required, periodic check-ins with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (ISAP). It is a concrete way to create a safe space- a sanctuary - for the most vulnerable among us by providing the physical presence and support of people who care about them. To participate in this program, you must first attend a training and register with New Sanctuary.
Monday, June 19, 6-8:30 pm, Ansche Chesed, 251 West 100 Street on the northeast corner of West End Avenue and 100th St.
UWSJ Affinity Groups
On Sunday, January 26, the UWS Jewish community came together for UWSJ's teach-in with a wonderful teacher and speakers who brought us up to date on what is happening in the areas of healthcare/reproductive rights, climate change and immigration/refugees. After the speakers, people gathered in four groups to form affinity groups to work in particular areas. Now, the work continues. If you didn't already sign up for working in an affinity group at the teach-in or would like to join an additional group, consider what the groups are thinking about (Healthcare/Reproductive Rights, Climate Change, Immigration, Refugees) and sign up by clicking the link above. One of the coordinators will contact you about the group's next meeting.
ORGANIZATIONS DOING GOOD
ACLU: FAQ on your right to protest
AJWS Get Involved Page
Bend the Arc Jewish Action
HIAS Action Page
HIAS Current Action Alert
JFREJ General Action Page
Leadership Conference: Tips on calling your member of Congress
National Council of Jewish Women's Action Alerts
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Tablet's Jewish Groups Across the Spectrum
A LETTER FROM RABBI JOY LEVITT, JCC MANHATTAN EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND SHEILA LAMBERT, PRESIDENT, JCC BOARD OF DIRECTORS
We are a community of immigrants, a mosaic of Jews and people of other traditions hailing from countries worldwide. Many of us at JCC Manhattan can trace our lineage back only a few generations. We have been refugees, asylum-seekers, and strangers struggling to fit in to a majority culture not our own.
And so we worry at the recent turn of events. We know: The closing of borders is a sign of the closing of hearts. And we refuse to close our hearts to those seeking refuge, safety, and the American dream.
“Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18) is a core Jewish value. That same chapter continues: “The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” The medieval rabbi Nahmanides explains: We know from our own experience that to be a “stranger” is to feel depressed and hopeless – and that we must do what we can to help.
The JCC offers, and will continue to offer, an array of programs on these issues.
- Our Nursery School has been hard at work recording the immigration stories of its families, to be shared by the children and their parents at an upcoming school-wide celebration.
- Recently, Generation R screened Stateless, the documentary on the Soviet Jewish refugees' experience of the 1980s and 1990s, and HIAS president Mark Hetfield and former NYANA executive Mark Handelman addressed the sold-out crowd. Their March 26 Traveling Suitcase will bring the National Museum of American Jewish History program to the JCC in a family-friendly exploration of immigration.
- The Jewish Journey Project brought together children to practice standing up for kindness, while their parents heard from an ADL educator on how to talk about racism and anti-Semitism with their children.
- A March 26 workshop, Researching Jewish Family History, in partnership with the Jewish Genealogical Society, will provide individuals with tools and resources to discover the immigration stories within their families.
- UJA-Federation of New York’s Engage Jewish Service Corps organizes older adult volunteers who regularly teach English to recent adult immigrants and write letters to immigrants being held in detention facilities who are seeking asylum.
- Our hundreds of math and literacy volunteers of all ages tutor in public schools every week, supplementing the ranks of teachers to help children, whose first language isn’t English, succeed.
Beyond our walls, our community partners have put out calls for lawyers to volunteer, and for all interested to join the HIAS Jewish Community Action for Refugees (see below).
JCC Manhattan believes that there are multiple ways to live in a community, and that the experiences we offer are invitations to explore, grow, and support one another. What binds us is a shared commitment to a better, fairer world.