Interfaith forum to focus on refugee resettlement

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SHUSHAN, N.Y. — Maxine Stein, president and CEO of Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts, an HIAS refugee resettlement affiliate, will present an overview of the current refugee situation and will share the history of HIAS and its role in refugee resettlement in this country and around the world at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Shushan United Presbyterian Church on Railroad Avenue.

In response to the deadly shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that killed 11 worshipers on Oct. 27, a group of sponsors have joined together to organize this interfaith public forum to fill the (continuing) need to respond as a community to this tragedy.

"As a result of this forum, the groups hope that something good will come out of the recent tragedy in Pennsylvania," said Lewis Steele, the program coordinator.

According to the sponsors, the impetus for this forum is the fact that the Pittsburgh shooter focused his hatred on Jews and on HIAS. A global Jewish nonprofit established in 1881, HIAS works with local partners to protect refugees, irrespective of their religion, through resettlement efforts where refugees find welcome, safety, and freedom. HIAS rescues people who are in danger for being who they are.

In her capacity as CEO of Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts (the largest refugee resettlement program in Massachusetts and a HIAS affiliate organization), Stein will also address the question of who is a refugee; the difference between an asylum seeker, a refugee, and an asylee; and how refugees enter the United States.

There will be a time for questions and, afterwards, for light refreshments.

Sponsors of the interfaith public forum include The Churches of Shushan (the United Presbyterian Church of Shushan and the Newman United Methodist Church of Shushan); Albany Presbytery Immigration Network; Saratoga Immigration Coalition; Temple Sinai (Saratoga Springs); Nuns of New Skete; Salem Ecumenical Clergy Group; Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York; Cambridge United Presbyterian Church; Easton Friends Meeting; Greenwich Interfaith Fellowship, Inc.; St. Patrick's Church (Cambridge), and Salem Rotary Club.




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