Our Work for Immigrant Justice

The Greater Boston Jewish community stands firmly with our immigrant neighbors, catalyzing local action with significant impact on immigrants we’ve gotten to know right here in Boston.

Sanctuary Clusters
Drawing on the passion and commitment of our community, JCRC has organized 18 synagogues and over 400 volunteers in Sanctuary clusters that are actively supporting families in crisis by providing shelter, food, and other needed services.

Boston Immigration Justice Accompaniment Network
We created BIJAN with our interfaith partners.
Together, we've mobilized over 1,000 volunteers who have:

  • Accompanied immigrants to over 650 court hearings
  • Provided legal support to over 100 people
  • Raised over $700,000 to bond out 127 people
  • Housed 50 individuals/families coming out of/reuniting after detention

Join us as we:

  • Offer Sanctuary
    For families who have run out of options to stay together, some congregations are taking the courageous step of opening their doors as a refuge, supported by additional, nearby congregations. This requires two volunteers to stay with the family 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, until the family is able to safely leave Sanctuary.
  • Stand up for the Unjustly Detained
    Our clusters are raising money for bond and connecting individuals to legal resources (undocumented people are not entitled to lawyers). So far, we have helped to bond out over 100 people, and we continue to work to see their cases fully resolved.
  • Provide Accompaniment
    We are organizing people to attend hearings at immigration court, to stand with these individuals in their efforts to prevent deportation.
  • Advocate for the Safety and Dignity of our Immigrant Neighbors
    Our clusters, as well as many other local Jewish organizations (including ADL, AJC, JALSA, JVS, and JFS), support the inclusion of basic protections for immigrants in the 2019 budget. In 2019, we joined the Driving Families Forward coalition to pass legislation increasing access to drivers licenses. This bill would allow anyone to apply for a drivers license, regardless of immigration status, ensuring immigrants can safely drive themselves and their families to work and school, pass driving tests, and get insurance - making the roads safer for everyone.
“We have all shared feelings of despair and paralysis when witnessing the escalation in the harassment and targeting of immigrants on a national level. Rather than succumbing to helplessness, we have mobilized our Jewish community to make a significant impact for immigrants we’ve gotten to know right here in Boston. Together with interfaith and synagogue partners, including my own synagogue, we responded by building robust networks of solidarity and support, which have helped the lives of individuals and families facing unimaginable decisions and uncertain futures.” - Rabbi Claudia Kreiman

"It is hard to convey what these figures mean, what they truly required. Each person who has gotten out on bond, along with those we support still inside detention, and those who have been deported, has summoned immense strength to face a system and country that has deemed them disposable. And, so has our Jewish community, which has leveraged its resources both human and financial, to ensure that they are not alone in these dark times. The work that we are engaged in together as part of this network is not just about doing the right thing in moments when the crisis at the Southern border is on the front pages of our papers and at the top of our Facebook feeds. This hard and holy work is about continuing to say “yes,” daily, so that when things get harder and when the risks heighten, we are already in the habit of acting." -Rachie Lewis, Director of Synagogue Organizing

To learn more or get involved in this work, contact Director of Synagogue Organizing Rachel Lewis at 617-457-8653 or by email.

“In seeing this work, I felt strengthened, I felt the power and love of our Jewish community and our commitment to showing up when it matters.” — Ida Assefa, BIJAN Organizer