Supporting Refugees from Afghanistan

By Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg 25th Aug 2021

Dear Community,

Members have been contacting us asking what we can do to support refugees from Afghanistan, to whom our hearts go out.

I wrote the following this morning in support of World Jewish Relief – and other – appeals:

We watch with horror the misery of thousands trying to escape the Taliban. What we see is a mere fraction of the terror. To Afghan people already here the news, or lack of news, from relatives fills them with dread. ‘You know the soul of the refugee,’ says the Torah. We know too the desperate struggle to escape, the pain of separated families, the bewilderment of strange lands, the heart-wounds of generations of trauma. We need to help. Whatever we can do, we must.

Most advice is that the best we can do at present is to support those NGOs well placed to help. Here are appeals from JCORE, the Jewish Council for Racial Equality, WJR, World Jewish Relief, and RTI, Refugee Trauma Initiative.

Airbnb plans to offer help with accommodation in the US and the UK. We await more details. Members are also in touch with Barnet Council, as any serious effort will require the collaboration of national and local government, supported by the voluntary sector.

There are a number of other organisations doing important work with refugees, that you can find on our website here. And Care4Calais are collecting clothes, shoes, phones and other essentials and are in need of volunteers to help with Afghan refugees.

Zarlasht Halaimzai, herself a refugee from Afghanistan, wrote a heart-rending ‘long read’ for Monday’s Guardian.

I wrote earlier today for London Jewish News.

The terrible plight of so many in Afghanistan is close to our own experiences in so many ways. We cannot just be bystanders.

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg


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