Tzedek Collective Ukraine Support

Congregation Emanuel-El is partnering with HIAS to sponsor resettlement of a family displaced by the war in Ukraine.

Our Mission:

  • To respond to humanitarian need by welcoming a Ukrainian family of four to five people, providing complete financial support and all necessary services until self-sufficiency

Fundraising goal minimum of $36,000: 

  • Giving amounts begin at $18
  • Donors will receive updates on the family’s journey and their resettlement

Facts:

  • According to the UN Refugee Agency estimates, there are more than 7.7 million Ukrainian refugees across Europe and more than 6.9 million displaced persons inside Ukraine
  • The number of HIAS Welcome Circles in the United States reached more than 100 in August 2023; 33 circles have helped Afghan families and 75 circles have formed to help Ukrainian families
  • Several reform synagogues including Temple Peninsula Sholom in Burlingame, Beth Am in Seattle and Wise Temple in Cincinnati have successfully resettled families, and are serving as models for us

FAQs:

  • What is the current situation and what is the need? Last year the Biden administration announced that it would allow 100,000 Ukrainians and others to come to the U.S. through a range of legal pathways, including the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. On April 21, 2022 President Biden announced Uniting for Ukraine, a new process to provide opportunities for Ukrainian citizens who have fled Russia’s aggression to come to the United States. This process provides a pathway for Ukrainians to apply for humanitarian parole for a period of two years.
  • Why is Congregation Emanuel-El getting involved? The Tzedek Collective, our social justice committee, brought this idea to our clergy because it is aligned with our values and being displaced is something we can all relate to personally. While its is a big undertaking, we have garnered the support of clergy and the board through our passion for this project. Also we know from your response to the Ukrainian toiletry drive this past month, our congregants will rise to the occasion.
  • Why partner with HIAS? HIAS helps refugees from around the world who are in danger because of who they are, regardless of race, religion, and nationality. Since the inception of the Welcome Circle program in late 2021, HIAS has trained, vetted, certified, and provided ongoing guidance to more than 100 circles across 20 states in the U.S., serving nearly 400 individuals to date. In Europe, HIAS has launched circles in 11 countries, and has served more than 700 displaced Ukrainians.
  • What resources will HIAS provide? In the U.S., HIAS works closely with Welcome Circles all over the country, providing volunteers with a wide range of support on all aspects of refugee resettlement, including dedicated support, specially developed resources, and access to a vibrant, online community. 
  • What is a HIAS Welcome Circle? A Welcome Circle is a group of individuals who provide financial, resettlement, and emotional support to newcomers for six months until they reach self-sufficiency. 
  • What are the Welcome Circle requirements? Most circles have 5-8 core members who lead on different tasks, such as finding housing, signing up for benefits, helping enroll children in school, and assisting adults with job readiness and employment. Members must pass mandatory background checks as part of their application process, as well as online knowledge assessment to demonstrate completion of a required online course that provides information on expected roles/responsibilities of sponsor circles, how to prepare/organize for supporting Ukrainian newcomers, key considerations for sponsorship, and how to navigate challenges.
  • After we raised funds, what is the next step? Develop and submit a “Welcome Plan” which articulates the ways the Circle will connect newcomers to services during the initial resettlement phase. This plan will cover securing housing, accessing benefits, connecting to healthcare and education, and other forms of community orientation. Once HIAS approves the Welcome Plan, the circle is matched quickly with a family and begins immigration paperwork to obtain a travel authorization from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
  • Are there concerns about settling a family in a city with high cost of living? There are many factors to consider when assessing how suited a community is for successful resettlement. There has been success in unexpected places; for example, HIAS clients have been successfully resettled in high-cost places like Westchester County, NY. Additionally, HIAS hopes to encourage as many Welcome Circles as possible to form in shared communities, so that Ukrainian refugees hopefully feel less alone.
  • How do I learn more? Contact Julie Weinberg at [email protected] or check out this Welcome Circles resource