National Refugee Shabbat

National Refugee Shabbat

Oct. 19-20 has been designated National Refugee Shabbat by HIAS, the 130-year-old Jewish immigrant aid society. The following programs will be held at area synagogues:

Congregation B’nai Israel of Basking Ridge

Friday, Oct. 19, 6-7:30 p.m.

Shabbat dinner prepared by a Syrian refugee through United Tastes of America. $50 per person. Contact Jane Simon at or Mike Berg at

Temple Emanu-El, Westfield

Saturday, Oct. 20, 10 a.m.-noon

Fun Club for Refugees — Volunteers offer ESL training, tutoring, games, and other fun and practical ways for refugees to practice their English skills. Volunteers needed. Contact Jennifer Tananbaum at or Alissa Berger at

Friday, Oct. 26, 6 p.m.

Following evening services, Abdullah Mahmood, a 15-year-old refugee from Iraq, will share his story at Shabbat dinner. Abdullah and his family, as well as a dozen other families, are participants in Temple Emanu-El’s Saturday Morning Fun Club for Refugees.

RSVP required for dinner. Call Temple Emanu-El at 908-232-6770.


Congregation Beth Hatikvah, Summit

Friday, Oct. 19, 6:30-9 p.m.

Dairy potluck dinner at 6:30 p.m. followed by services at 7:30. During Shabbat evening prayers, hear from one member family about their experiences tutoring children of a Syrian refugee family. Call 908-277-0200.


Congregation Shomrei Emunah, Montclair

Saturday, Oct. 20, 9:30 a.m.

During Shabbat morning services Rabbi David Greenstein will speak about creating a society where every stranger and wanderer feels safe in our borders. The congregation supports recent refugees through its refugee assistance group.


Temple Sha’arey Shalom, Springfield

Friday, Oct. 19, 8 p.m.

Dr. Karen Gaffney, professor of English at Raritan Valley Community College, will discuss her book, “Dismantling the Racist Machine: A Manual and Toolbox” (Routledge, 2017). Shabbat evening prayers will focus on the immigrant experience, including poetry dedicated to parents and children who have been separated at the border.


Temple Beth Am, Parsippany

Friday, Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m.

Rabbi Andrew Sklarz will offer a prayer for refugees during Shabbat services.


Temple Ner Tamid, Bloomfield

Friday, Oct. 19, 8 p.m.

Rabbi Marc Katz will address the refugee issue during his Shabbat evening sermon, “We were wandering Arameans: Judaism and the legacy of the refugee.”


Bnai Keshet, Montclair

Friday, Oct. 19, 6:30 p.m. dinner, 7:15 panel

Dinner at Bnai Keshet prepared by refugees from Syria through United Tastes of America. $20 per person. Register at

Following dinner, a panel of experts and refugees discuss the current crisis and tell their stories. Speakers include Abdul Alargha from Syria, Ivan Grosz from Romania, Bnyad Sharef, advocate, and Lori Nessel, director of the Center for Social Justice at Seton Hall University School of Law.

Saturday, Oct. 20, 7:30-10 p.m.

Benefit concert for Make the Road NJ, an organization dedicated to immigrant rights advocacy and legal defense. Evening features music, spoken word, art, and food. $30 suggested donation.   

Sunday, Oct. 21, 2-3:30 p.m.

Presentation on volunteer opportunities for immigrant and refugee support and advocacy by First Friends, a non-profit organization providing volunteer visitations, resettlement assistance, and advocacy to people in detention.

Call 973-746-4889 or email

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