The Boston Globe recently published an article about how local nonprofits created to serve one immigrant group have expanded to serve diverse populations. The piece featured Jewish Vocational Service:
For Jewish Vocational Service, founded in 1938 to help European Jewish refugees fleeing Nazism and the looming world war, inclusiveness extends to welcoming Muslim immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa, peacefully bringing together two communities often at odds over land and beliefs.
“They’re seeking the American dream,” said Jerry Rubin, president and chief executive officer of Jewish Vocational Service. “The organization is their open door to that opportunity just the way we were to the Jewish immigrants in 1938. I think that’s something very powerful for the Jewish community and for the broader community. It transcends some of the more challenging relationships.”
The article also featured one of JVS’ clients:
Haider Alhemayri grew up in Baghdad and emigrated in 2011, joining two older brothers and a sister who fled Iraq after a brother received a death threat for working as a translator for the American military.
In Boston, Alhemayri, 27, quickly secured a job with help from Jewish Vocational Service, where he felt so welcomed that he asked friends in Iraq why there were no Jewish people back home.
“I told them, like: ‘They are so great. They helped me out,’ ” said Alhemayri, a Muslim. “The picture they make in Iraq is [Jewish people] are terrible. That’s not true.”
Today, JVS serves a diverse clientele that represent over 69 nations and speak 55 languages. We help our clients change their lives by finding employment and building careers, just as we did 75 years ago with Jewish immigrants who struggled to enter the American workforce and support their families.
As the Torah tells us to “love the stranger in our midst,” JVS welcomes those who come to these shores as strangers, and will continue to help them achieve the American Dream for years to come.
–Jerry Rubin, President and CEO, Jewish Vocational Service
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