01.09.2023 - An update from HIAS+JCORE
I hope you have all enjoyed the summer so far.
I’m delighted to take this opportunity to introduce myself as David Mason, the Executive Director of the new partnership, HIAS+JCORE. It’s an honour to follow the many decades of work undertaken by Dr Edie Friedman – and I’d like to pay tribute once again to her efforts to fight racism and work for a more welcoming UK.
Clearly, there is still a great deal of work to do. As an organisation that puts refugees and people seeking asylum front and centre, these are difficult times. The present government is continuing to make life intolerable for those seeking sanctuary in the UK: our asylum system is riddled by a lack of compassion and basic humanity. From the cruel plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, the ongoing fiasco with the Bibby Stockholm Barge and of course the deeply saddening passing of the ‘Illegal Migration’ Bill, things are tough.
But within the new HIAS relationship, I’m confident that we can build a basis that will, in our own Jewish way, make a difference. Since starting this role, I’ve greatly enjoyed bringing our new team together and working to build a creative relationship – and I’m hugely excited about our plans and potential to grow.
Read on to find out more about what we’ve got lined up!
We have ambitious goals to build HIAS+JCORE into a unique volunteering hub for the UK Jewish community: a one-stop shop with varied opportunities to use your time, skills, and experience to support refugees and asylum seekers. In 5784, we hope we can help even more Jewish people in the UK get involved and working with refugees and asylum seekers.
As a first step, we’re delighted to be expanding our JUMP programme supporting young unaccompanied refugees and asylum seekers. I’m so proud and inspired by the work this project does – if you’d like to join our growing numbers of befrienders in the JUMP community, click here and register your interest.
We’re also building a number of other ideas, and will look to launch another programme to sit with JUMP in the new year – watch this space!
At HIAS+JCORE, we realise the importance of advocacy and campaigning, particularly amidst the current political climate. We’re therefore pleased to have taken under our wings a project called JRAN (the Joint Refugee Action Network), originally initiated by the One to One Childrens Fund.
Through JRAN, we’re planning to bring together faith leaders and groups to further amplify their voices on refugee issues. We’ll also be creating reports and briefings through the project, giving a strong evidence base to our calls for a fairer, more humane and compassionate asylum system – and providing a powerful tool to support our lobbying efforts with politicians and decision makers.
As part of our advocacy strategy we’ll also be developing additional campaigns, led by Jewish values and experience. Stay tuned for updates!
Events and collaboration
We’re very keen to work in partnership with other Jewish organisations speaking about refugees and asylum seekers – and to develop more opportunities for collaboration. With that, we’re very excited to be planning three events with communal organisations later this year. We’ll be in touch with more information and details about signing up soon!
It’s also been a real privilege to continue valued relationships with organisations in the refugee sector like the Refugee Council and Together with Refugees. And I’ve greatly valued getting to know new and existing partners in the anti-racism world, including the recently established Black Equity Organisation.
I should also add that the relationship we’re building with HIAS has been extremely positive and beneficial for our work – being connected to HIAS’ global community and expertise is so valuable to us.
At HIAS+JCORE, we’re passionate about our Jewish values of compassion, responsibility, solidarity, and partnership, and look to weave them into our work and bring them to Jewish communities and organisations across the community. These efforts are already beginning – and we look forward to you continuing this journey with us.
Thank you as always for your support and please do be in touch,
Warm regards and a Shana Tova, Happy New Year
David, Amos, and the Team