SHJ Statement on Syrian Refugees





Farmington Hills, MI, September 28, 2015 – The Society for Humanistic Judaism has issued a statement urging humanitarian assistance for Syrian refugees.  Heartbroken by the extreme suffering by over four million refugees, many of whom are risking their lives to escape, the Society for Humanistic has been compelled to respond. 


Jewish organizations are describing the crisis in Europe as the worst since World War II, and emphasizing that Jews have a special obligation to provide moral leadership. As Humanistic Jews, we feel that moral obligation to ensure that Jewish national and international organizations have adequate resources and commitment to assist refugees fleeing armed conflict, repression or religious and ethnic persecution. 


Rabbi Jeffrey Falick noted in his The Atheist Rabbi blog, dated September 10, 2015: 


In July 1938 delegates from 32 nations met at the French resort if Évian-les-Bains to discuss the mounting problem of Jewish refugees from Germany and recently-annexed Austria. At the time Hitler was willing to let them leave “even on luxury ships,” in his own words.


As everyone knows, little was done to help the German and Austrian Jews. The nations who participated in the conference were mostly unwilling to change their immigration quotas and very few of the Jews who needed a visa received one.


The Mideast refugee crisis is becoming increasingly acute. The Jewish community has an obligation to be part of the solution here. Though there is controversy surrounding the number of refugees that can be accepted to the U.S., there should be no controversy whatsoever about the dire need for financial assistance


The statement specifies the following: “The Society for Humanistic Judaism urges Jews and Jewish organizations to view this refugee tragedy as a humanitarian crisis.  SHJ urges the collection of funds for relief efforts as well as a permanent political and peaceful solution to the conditions that led to the crisis.


For full text of the statement, click here.