I am submitting this comment in response to the “HIAS in search of a mission” (WJW, July 25).
This article aims to divide Jews. And, in doing so, it reflects a troublesome precedent. Promoting this kind of insularity is what drives many Jews — who might otherwise choose to be affiliated or at least more active in their Judaism — away from the flock overall. Speaking from personal experience, the work, mission and very existence of HIAS promotes inclusion. It is direly needed as — and in fact, exemplifies — common ground for Jews of all observance levels to coalesce as a community. And a vibrant one at that.
As for the sheer necessity and relevance of HIAS’ work, I encourage the author of this piece to join us this fall for the annual government advocacy mission. Or spend an evening at our HIAS-inspired program tutoring local immigrants in the citizenship and English classes that allow them to become full participants in American democracy (the very goal of previous generations of our own families). Or travel to the refugee camps in Chad, direct service offices in Nairobi — or Quito, Kiev or 20+ cities where HIAS changes the course of people’s lives and livelihoods. I can assure you that after any of these experiences, you will write a totally different article.
Irrelevant? Sunset? The world would suffer if these words even entered our vocabularies. In search of a mission? Nothing could be more inaccurate.
ALISON KARFELD, Washington