In coordination with HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, Beth El Synagogue will be a proud participant in HIAS’ Refugee Shabbat, during which Jews in the United States and around the world will take action for refugees and asylum seekers.
We will dedicate sacred time and space to refugees and asylum seekers during services, and after the conclusion of shabbat with havdalah, we will examine the refugee crisis more in depth by screening the film A Home Called Nebraska and a discussion panel afterwards, via Zoom and Facebook Live. The panel will include members of the Omaha refugee community as well as representatives from organizations working to sponsor refugee families in Nebraska, and the filmmakers.
In 2016, Beth El Synagogue began to sponsor and welcome refugee families to Omaha in coordination with the Refugee Resettlement program at Omaha’s Lutheran Family Services. That year, Nebraska resettled more refugees per capita than any other state. As of 2019, Beth El has sponsored three refugee families, with participation from over three dozen congregants and clergy.
A Home Called Nebraska, an independent film released in late 2019, profiles the story of local refugees and their “welcome home” to Nebraska with stunning cinematography and heart-tugging narrative, filmed here in Omaha by directors/producers George and Beth Gage.
With more than 80 million people worldwide who have fled their homes due to persecution and violence, we are now witnesses to one of the largest humanitarian crises in human history. Over the last four years in the United States, the administration had essentially ground the U.S. refugee admissions program to a halt and decimated the asylum system.
As the current administration began we heard a public announcement of the intention to restart the refugee admission program, and we celebrate the opportunity to look towards a return to the value of welcoming those in need of a safe place to call home and continuing the Jewish community’s support for pro-refugee and asylum seeker policies across the globe.
Please join us on Zoom for services Saturday, March 13, at 10 a.m. on Zoom, and at 7:05 p.m. for Havdalah. The film screening of A Home Called Nebraska will begin at 7:45 p.m., followed by the panel discussion afterwards. The film screening and discussion will also be streamed on Facebook Live.