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Dear JJA Members:

Please join us in signing the letter in the link below and asking at least 3 – 5 of your Jewish friends and family to do the same. The letter:

● welcomes our local Congressional and Senate representatives,

● introduces us as part of a network of Jewish congregations and organizations deeply committed to making the U.S. a welcoming place for refugees and asylum seekers, and

● asks them to commit to uphold the rights and safety of these vulnerable people.

Immigration issues have traditionally been a non-partisan issue supported by both parties.  We hope to bring a faith leader with us to these meetings to reinforce that this is an issue guided by our Jewish values.

Thank you.

Barby and Carol

Welcome letter link:

You can help end the needless incarceration of immigrants

While the Biden administration has taken some positive steps, ICE continues to incarcerate over 14,000 people and deportations have continued, in spite of the 100-day moratorium on deportations that was supposed to start in January.

Lawmakers in Congress have the primary responsibility for regulating immigration. Orange County representatives are reportedly receiving very few calls about ICE incarceration and deportations. It only takes a minute or two to leave a voicemail message with your member of Congress. Every call is logged and counted. Just a few calls can make a difference. Please call your member of Congress to show that there is significant constituent support for the following actions:

  • Enact a full deportation moratorium that includes all undocumented immigrants in detention centers and those impacted by the criminal legal system
  • Conduct a full Investigation of the Department of Homeland Security and ICE for human and civil rights violations
  • Call for the release of all individuals from ICE detention centers
  • Demand the closure of all ICE detention centers

ICE detention is unnecessary. There are cost-effective and humane alternatives. The mass incarceration of vulnerable community members and immigrants costs U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars per year, and has nothing to do with public safety. In fact, during a pandemic, mass incarceration has a direct negative impact on the spread of disease in the general population. For many, this has been, and continues to be, a matter of life and death. According to a recent study, ICE’s failure to release people from detention during the pandemic has added over 245,000 cases to the total U.S. caseload.

Click Here to Find Your Congress Person's Phone Number

The Orange County Jewish Coalition for Refugees Seeking Volunteers to Help Resettle Refugee Families

Welcoming the stranger has been an important value in Jewish life and as Jews we are well aware of the humanitarian costs of shutting down borders.  The Orange County Jewish Coalition for Refugees is working with Home for Refugees (an Orange County based organization)  to assist newly admitted refugee families in their first year in the United States.  We are seeking volunteers to create or join a team that will partner with a newly resettled family to welcome and assist them in adjusting to life in the U.S.  With the Biden administration working to reverse the restrictive immigration policies of the previous administration and allow more resettlement, we are expecting a greater number of families being able to enter our country.  If you would like to learn more about the work of Home for Refugees, please contact Jeanne Stokols at

HIAS Refugee Shabbat Havdalah
Saturday, March 6  5:00 PM

Come together with hundreds of fellow refugee advocates and activists across the globe to send out Shabbat with a joyful havdalah service (the service that marks the conclusion of Shabbat) led by HIAS Rabbi-in-Residence Rachel Grant Meyer,  Rabbi Yosef Goldman, and Rabbi Annie Lewis. Our blessings will be woven together with the voices of historical and contemporary refugees. We will also enjoy a live performance of the song “You Were Strangers” from the spiritual folk-rock show REVIVAL written by Kristen Plylar-Moore and performed this evening by musicians Lea Kalisch, Julia Ostrov, and Rabbi Tobias Moss. Together, we will raise our voices in support of displaced people worldwide. 

Register Here

Jewish Coalition for Refugees Shabbat Havdalah Service
Saturday, March 6  8:00 PM

The program will be begin with a short havdalah service and then will show the 12 minute film released this week - Oh Mercy - 

Oh Mercy will set the stage for a conversation about refugees globally and asylum seekers at our border, and connect viewers with the real people living in camps. Fortunately this week, asylum seekers from the Matamoros camp featured in the film, have begun to be let in to the US to claim asylum.

Following the film there will be a panel representing HIAS and four OC organizations working to help refugees and immigrants:

  • Julie Gersten, Director and Founder of Refugee Action Fund and HIAS board member

  • Jackie Menter, Project Director OCJCR

  • Tim Burns, OC Justice Fund

  • Lynn Abraham-Yadlin of Home for Refugees

Zoom link for the program is

HIAS Perspectives on the Global Jewish Movement for Refugees
Sunday, March 7  11:30 PM

Individual and community involvement can make a tremendous difference in the lives of refugees, asylum seekers, and the forcibly displaced. Yet, when confronted with the fact that there are now over 80 million displaced people in the world, it is easy to be overwhelmed – to assume that as individuals there is little we can do to address the root causes of displacement or to support those seeking safety. But there is so much we can do to make a meaningful difference. 

Join us for an afternoon conversation about how global Jewish communities are doing just this. We’ll hear from colleagues at HIAS and other organizations working in collaboration with Jewish communities in Europe, Canada, Latin America, and the United States in support of and in solidarity with displaced people, and explore how the emergent global Jewish movement for refugees is evolving. 

Register Here


Jewish Earth Alliance 

Ratify the Kigali Amendment Join the International Agreement to Phase Out HFCs
Write your Senators & Congress members by March 8th

Remember the ozone hole in the atmosphere over Antarctica that was exposing us to harmful ultraviolet radiation? Well, it is repairing itself due to one of the most successful global environmental actions of all time: The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, signed by every member of the United Nations including the United States in 1987. The Montreal Protocol has virtually eliminated the production and consumption of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs,) used mostly in aerosol sprays, refrigerants, foams and as solvents. In addition to harming the ozone layer, CFCs are super-pollutants, contributing to global warming. Unfortunately, the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that replaced them are also global warming superpollutants. And their use is increasing rapidly due to wider adoption of air conditioning as global incomes and temperatures rise. In 2016 the Kigali Amendment was added to the Montreal Protocol to require the phase-out of HFCs. HFCs persist in the atmosphere for a relatively short amount of time compared to carbon dioxide, so eliminating their use will have an immediate benefit. If fully implemented globally, the Kigali Amendment could help limit additional warming by up to half a degree by the end of the century. Although the US has not yet signed on to the Kigali Amendment, there is a lot of agreement on the need for regulation of HFCs. In fact, in a surprising positive development, legislation directing the EPA to implement a phase out of HFCs in the US was passed in December as part of the year-end omnibus package. 

Sample Letters


Help Identify Potential Top Priority Campaigns That are Aligned with our Jewish Values

Dear RAC-CA Congregational Justice Leaders,

As we enter the 2021 legislative season, we have another chance to work in solidarity with our allies and act on our commitment to justice in California. In March, RAC-CA will hold two campaign selection webinars. On these webinars, you will hear from the RAC-CA Research Team about potential top priority campaigns that are aligned with our Jewish values. They will share what the campaigns will accomplish, who our partners would be, and how each campaign would contribute to our vision of the California we want to live in. Participants will have the chance to share which campaign their congregation wants to work on.

Turning out members of your congregation and community for these webinars is a great organizing opportunity. People who participate in the campaign selection will become connected to each other and to the campaign itself. I invite and encourage you to pack the webinar with your experienced leaders and new people you hope to engage. Please register now and encourage your leaders to register for one of these two identical RAC-CA campaign selection webinars. A sample email that you can modify and send to your members is below.

Wednesday, March 10, 7 - 8:30 PM  Register Here

Thursday, March 11, 12 - 1:30 PM  Register Here

Urge Congress to Address the Public Health Impacts of Systemic Racism 

The past year has demonstrated that the U.S. must address the enduring legacy of slavery and systemic racism, which has exacerbated the public health emergency. High rates of COVID-19, maternal mortality, police violence, and chronic health conditions disproportionately impact Communities of Color, and we have a moral obligation to recognize that racism is a public health issue. Urge your member of Congress to co sponsor the Anti-Racism in Public Health Act to declare racism a public health crisis, expand research into the public health impacts of systemic racism, and require the federal government to develop antiracist health policy.

Take Action Here

RAC Racial Justice 2021 Campaign

Building off our commitment to combat voter suppression during our Civic Engagement Campaign, the Religious Action Center is moving forward to continue its racial justice work. As we move to create a world in which all people experience wholeness, justice and compassion, the Reform Movement’s Racial Justice Campaign seeks to encourage our Movement to turn inwardly to examine and address our own behaviors, practices, and policies through the lens of racial equity, diversity, and inclusion (REDI) and outwardly to pursue targeted, strategic advocacy that could change laws and policies that impact our society. In the coming year, there will be more opportunities for your Reform synagogue and community to engage in REDI work as well as legislative advocacy campaigns at the state and federal level.

You can exercise leadership by joining one of two identical webinars to weigh in on the Reform Movement’s main federal racial justice issue campaign in 2021. A multi-racial research team of lay leaders from around the country is meeting now with allies and others to identify possible 2021 issue campaigns. This team will present that research on the March webinars, and you and other members of your congregation and community can weigh in on which issue campaign you most want the Reform Movement to work on. Your voice will shape what we do.

March 22 at 5 PM  Register Here
March 23 at 12:00 Noon  Register Here

Jewish Council for Public Affairs National Conference 2021
April 24-24

Join us at the JCPA2021 National Conference and convene with your peers to grapple with today’s pressing social issues and set a path forward, through a Jewish lens. 

From the impact of the pandemic, to helping the hungry, to ending systemic racism, the Jewish community has a unique role to play in supporting those in need, ending antisemitism and hate, and building a just and pluralistic America.  

Register Here


Any person living in a temporary location, such as a shelter or a place not fit for human habitation (encampment, car, abandoned building, etc.), is considered homeless, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

How do people become homeless?

Top reasons people become homeless:

  • 42.5% Lost job or economic issues

  • 20% drugs or alcohol use

  • 17% divorce or separation

  • 15% an argument with a family member who asked them to leave

  • 7.5% eviction

  • 10% mental health or physical health issues

    What are the largest barriers to obtaining permanent housing?

  • 63% Can’t afford rent

  • 37% Do not have an income

  • 19% Do not have the funds for moving costs

  • 18% Say the housing process is too difficult

  • 15% Cite no available housing

    What could prevent homelessness?

  • 34% employment assistance

  • 31% rental assistance

  • 28% drug or alcohol counseling

  • 19% mental health services

Next JJA Meeting:
Sunday, March 21, 10 AM via

Contact Carol Singer at or Barby Schwid at for
more information.











Tue, March 2 2021 18 Adar 5781