The plight of immigrants and refugees in this country is of particular concern to the congregation. As Jews, we know all too well the challenges of seeking refuge from violence and poverty in the best of times, let alone in the present environment. We have several groups working to address this multifaceted, heartbreaking situation.
Immigrant Rights: Temple Sinai is a member of the Sanctuary DMV Congregational Network. The temple also has a longstanding relationship with Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley in McAllen, TX. Temple members have traveled to McAllen to work with refugee families. We send backpacks, clothes and other items throughout the year. We’ve also visited immigrant detainees at Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, GA. We work with El Refugio, an organization in Lumpkin, on a “pen pal” program to communicate with and support detainees. In the DC metro area, Sinai volunteers partner with KIND (Kids In Need of Defense), Ayuda, and CAIR and others to provide legal and financial support, social services and counseling to immigrant families. We work with DC Detention Visitation Network to visit immigrants detained in local jails used by ICE. We organize and advocate for DACA, TPS, and similar programs and lead field trips to detention facilities. Rabbi Roos.
Assisting Refugee Families: Temple Sinai’s refugee family team, working with Lutheran Social Services, has sponsored an Afghan refugee family and also assists other refugee families. We are presently sponsoring an asylum seeker from the Congo. More than 50 temple members provide direct support. Andrea Dettelbach, Catherine Ribnick. We also work with Solutions in Hometown Connections (SHC) to tutor and provide support to locally resettled refugees and asylum seekers. Nancy Liebermann. Catherine Ribnick. Andrea Dettelbach.
Sanctuary: Temple Sinai has joined the Sanctuary Movement and publicly declared itself as a Sanctuary Congregation. We are committed to offering humanitarian aid to vulnerable immigrants in our community and to moving forward with plans for Sanctuary. A big part of this effort is preparing a designated space on the Temple’s property for hosting a family or individual facing deportation to live until their case or status is resolved, or threat of deportation ends. Elizabeth Hoffman.
Washington Interfaith Network (WIN): This interfaith coalition of congregations and community organizations across DC, described more fully below, works to leverage the collective power of its members to make DC a more just city for all its residents. One of the key initiatives of WIN is focused on immigration and refugee protection. Barbara Kraft.