Refugee Crisis

At Central Synagogue

Central Synagogue:
Addressing the Refugee Crisis

Central Synagogue is committed to taking action in response to the global refugee crisis. We are doing so in a number of ways including working with HIAS, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), and sponsoring a Syrian refugee family’s resettlement in Ontario, Canada.

David Miliband offers inisght on the international refugee crisis and his work as President & CEO of the International Rescue Committee.


As you may be aware, the White House has indicated that it will be issuing an executive order in the coming days to entirely halt the refugee resettlement program in the United States and temporarily ban all immigration from several countries. This news has raised the urgency for our partners at the IRC and in the broad coalition of refugee agencies. The work on establishing details for our volunteer opportunities has been put on pause for the next several weeks as their staff, lay leadership, and network of partners diligently works to address this situation. In the meantime, you can take action by…

Participating in the advocacy work to stop the closure of the U.S. refugee resettlement program »
Making a donation to support our efforts in helping resettle a Syrian refugee family in Canada »

HIAS: Welcome the stranger. Protect the refugee.

Central Synagogue was one of the first synagogues to have signed onto HIAS’ Welcome Campaign – currently 252 synagogues in the United States have done so. Our work with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and our sponsorship of a Syrian refugee family’s resettlement in Ontario, Canada, see below, is a part of our commitment to action and our pledge to HIAS and the Welcome Campaign.

Learn more about the HIAS Welcome Campaign »

Volunteer with Refugees in New York City

Central Synagogue is proud to partner with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in offering our community opportunities to directly and positively impact the refugee population in New York City.

  • Join us on a Saturday after Shabbat morning services at the IRC NYC office in Midtown Manhattan to tutor refugee children.
  • Volunteer to run a job readiness training seminar for recent arrivals covering the basics of resume preparation, interview skills and more.
  • This spring, come up north with a group of Central volunteers and spend an afternoon with refugees in the IRC Community Garden in the Bronx. Refugees grow their own fruits and vegetables and sell the produce at farmers markets throughout NYC.
  • Are you a college student or do you know one? Consider interning at the IRC this summer and experiencing first-hand refugee resettlement and advocacy work. Applications for the internship will be open in May on the IRC website.
Interested in learning about dates, times, and sign-up info when they’re available? Please let us know by filling out this form »

Sponsoring a Refugee Family’s Resettlement

Our Partner Congregation

Central Synagogue is proud to partner with our sister Reform congregation west of Toronto, The Solel Congregation in Mississauga, Ontario, in their sponsorship of a Syrian refugee family and resettlement to their community.

The Family

The Solel congregation has been matched with a Christian family of three (a married couple, Laila and Ned, and their 22-year-old son Tony). In 2011 the family fled Homs, Syria into Lebanon due to the chaos and violence of Syria’s civil war and the destruction of their city and home.

The Process

More than two years ago the Solel Congregation began working closely with the Canadian government and The Office for Refugees Archdiocese of Toronto (ORAT) to sponsor a family. The government has a multi-stage process to vet each person applying for refugee status. This process includes on-the-ground research and interviews by government and ORAT officials located in Lebanon and Syria. The vetting process for this family is expected to conclude within a few months and the family will likely arrive in Canada between March and June.

Once they arrive members of the Solel community will work with the Canadian government and this family to help them transition to living in Canada. They will formally work with the family for twelve months as they secure housing, employment, and learn English. Members of Solel will also assist the family with finding doctors and in learning the fundamentals of life in Canada.

How You Can Help

Arabic Speakers Needed: We are looking for congregants who are fluent in Arabic to help communicate with the family before they arrive.

Sign up to volunteer »

Help Fund This Sponsorship

We are in the process of raising $7,000 to help pay for this family’s resettlement. You can help by contributing directly to this effort. All contributions are tax deductible. Any amount raised above $7,000 will be earmarked towards additional Central Synagogue refugee initiatives. Donate online or make a note on your check directing your donation towards our refugee initiatives.

Make a Donation »

Follow Their Journey

Visit this page for updates on the progress of our sponsored family throughout the next year.

Our People

Rabbi Mo Salth

Rabbi Mo Salth