Stand with Refugees: Become a Congregational Co-Sponsor

by Jessica Schaffer, HIAS Chicago Director

Today, over 65 million people are displaced around the world – of those, more than 25 million are refugees. Various conflicts across the globe, including in Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and elsewhere, have created the greatest humanitarian crisis the world has seen since World War II.  In the face of this crisis, many countries and states and institutions have closed or threatened to close their doors to refugees, unable or unwilling to provide the critical support necessary to help them rebuild their lives.

Read more

Refugees: Seeking Solace, Safety and Serenity

by Jessica Schaffer, Director of HIAS Chicago

In 1949, my grandparents, like so many thousands of Jews at the time, arrived in Canada as refugees. They had survived the ghettos and concentrations camps of Poland and Germany and were grateful for the opportunity to build a new, quiet life in a welcoming community. With them was my mother, only two years old at the time. Though she didn’t know the same horrors as my grandparents, she did know the feeling of containment in the Bergen Belsen Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp, in which she was born and spent the first years of her life. For her, my grandparents wished a bright, safe future. They wanted her to grow roots in a country that accepted her and that she could call home.  

Read more