Protecting Immigrants

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Our Jewish values compel us to welcome the stranger, for once we were strangers. NCJW is fighting back against xenophobic, anti-immigrant, and anti-refugee policies to ensure that our country continues to be a welcoming place.

Since its founding, the Council had shown concern and caring for Jewish immigrants, establishing a Committee of Immigrant Aid (later to be named the Department of Service to Foreign Born as its work shifted to “Americanization” classes). In 1903, the Council was asked by the U. S. government to help subvert “white slavery” exploitation and sweatshop labor, and in 1907, NCJW established an immigration station on Ellis Island on the East Coast. By 1912, NCJW had offered assistance to 10,000 women and girls through its 51 sections and activities in 150 cities and towns. Its representatives in European ports distributed leaflets advising that Council members would assist them “in sickness, trouble, or danger.”

The San Francisco Section was well aware of the dangers of the streets at the turn of the century and later, during the Great Depression. In the early 1900s, Council members met families and single young women at the docks in what they referred to as “port and dock work.” Council was proud of its record of care. In 1916, monthly subscriptions were solicited from all members to help the immigrants landing at Angel Island, which became a U. S. immigrant station in 1910. Known as the “Ellis Island of the West,” Angel Island received immigrants primarily from China, Japan, Russia, and South Asia. Meeting the emigres was just the start of Council service, which led immigrants to suitable housing, educational and recreational opportunities, employment, and medical care.

We continue the legacy of our prominent volunteers and activists through national and local efforts to improve immigration policies and protect immigrant rights. 

Past Events:

Tish’s B’av Vigil : Jews and Quakers Join in Multifaith Vigiland Public Worship On Immigration

August 11, 2019 | King Plaza, in front of City Hall | Palo Alto

Jewish institutions and Palo Alto Friends Meeting invited the broader community to a vigil in prayerful protest of the inhumane policies toward immigrants and refugees. This event was a part of a national Jewish effort connecting the 9 th of Av (Aug 11), the annual day of mourning over Jewish suffering throughout history, with the experience of today’s immigrants. The Jewish vigil lead directly into a Quaker Public Worship with a Concern for Immigrants and Refugees, in which participants gathered in silence to listen to the Spirit which guides human affairs and inspires both immediate words and future action.

T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, in cooperation with Bend the Arc South Bay, Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice, Beth Am, Etz Chayim, Keddem, Kol Emeth, Jewish Community Relations Council, National Council for Jewish Women, Palo Alto Friends Meeting, and Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom.