Shabbat Services with Speaker: Mark Hetfield, HIAS

Mayer & Ethel Lerner Sanctuary

For We Were Strangers: A Jewish Response to the Refugee Crisis


The Social Action Committee is pleased to welcome Mark Hetfield, President and CEO of HIAS, during Shabbat morning services, Shabbat Chol HaMoed Pesach.  His talk is part of our congregational engagement in the refugee issue through the HIAS Welcome Campaign.   

On Passover, as we retell the story of our search for freedom and refuge, we recall that we are commanded to welcome the stranger. Join Mark Hetfield to learn more about the global refugee crisis and to explore how Jewish values and history call on us to respond – both here in the U.S. and internationally. HIAS is the world’s oldest, and only Jewish, global refugee agency.

Mark Hetfield was appointed President and CEO of HIAS after a 25-year career, much of it served at HIAS, most recently as the agency’s senior vice president for policy and programs. An expert in refugee and immigration law, policy, and programs, Mark has led HIAS’ transformation from an organization focused on Jewish immigrants to a global agency assisting refugees of all faiths and ethnicities. Mark began his career as a HIAS caseworker in Italy, assisting Jewish refugee applicants from the Soviet Union. He later rejoined the agency as its Washington, D.C. representative, and again as its director of international operations. Between his stints at HIAS, Mark served as senior advisor on refugee issues at the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, where he directed a congressionally authorized study on the treatment of asylum seekers. He graduated cum laude with a J.D. degree from Georgetown University, from which he also holds a degree as a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service. 

Ohr Kodesh Congregation

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