The scenes from Europe have been shocking and devastating.
Tens of thousands of people – young children, their desperate parents, the elderly – have risked their lives to escape war and economic disaster. From Syria to Afghanistan, from Eretria to Nigeria and elsewhere around the world, more than 2,500 have died trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Though, it is the image of one lifeless boy washing ashore in Turkey that has captured the eyes of the world, a picture Rabbi Jonathan Sacks called “an image that will linger long in the mind as a symbol of a world gone mad.”
The survivors of war, famine and chaos trying to find shelter in Europe represent the largest such numbers of displaced people since World War II. The International Organization for Migration estimates 350,000 refugees have arrived in Europe in this year alone.
Amid the disturbing news reports of refugees being prevented from boarding trains in Hungary, beaten by police in Macedonia and elsewhere, there are also scenes of heartwarming acts of kindness, most notably and movingly from Germany.
Yet, short-term help in Germany’s cities and towns will only begin the process of stabilizing the lives of the hundreds of thousands escaping terror and death in their homelands. Germany will take in 800,000 refugees, most from Syria. But the needs of the refugees are profound and immediate. And they are growing each day.
CJP is joining with the Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief (JCDR) to collect funds to aid refugees in Europe and the Middle East. The JCDR coordinates the efforts of North American Jewish organizations and has already provided more than $500,000 in grants to humanitarian groups, including the MultiFaith Alliance. CJP has already contributed $25,000 to JCDR’s work.
As Rabbi Sacks so eloquently notes, “A strong humanitarian response on the part of Europe and the international community could achieve what military intervention and political negotiation have thus far failed to achieve. They would constitute the clearest possible evidence that the European experience of two world wars and the Holocaust have taught that free societies, where peoples of all faith and ethnicities make space for one another, are the only way to honor our shared humanity… fail this and we will have failed one of the fundamental tests of humanity.”
As Jews, we can never forget what it was like to be homeless refugees, just as we never forgot what it was like to be slaves in the land of Egypt.
Your donation goes directly to organizations providing on-the-ground assistance to refugees. Please donate today.