Immigration Justice and What You Can Do
“You too must befriend the stranger, for you were
strangers in the land of Egypt.”
From its beginning, Mount Zion Temple has been active in immigrant justice. In 1897, the Mount Zion Ladies Hebrew Benevolent Society led Mount Zion to form Neighborhood House as a settlement house for the numerous Eastern European immigrants living on the West Side of St. Paul. In the early 1980s, Mount Zion sponsored four Southeast Asian families as they relocated to the United States. In the late 1990s, Mount Zion supported a family from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Mount Zion has a longstanding commitment to serving undocumented residents of the U.S. This commitment was reinforced by a Board resolution in October 2017 committing Mount Zion to provide aid to people at risk of deportation from the U.S. Since then, Mount Zion, through its Tzedek Committee, has worked with fellow congregants and with community partners, raising awareness and conducting political advocacy for immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees. We have also worked with the St. Paul Coalition for Immigrant Justice to support efforts to house undocumented residents in our community.
Ready to act? Here is what is needed.
Tzedek Committee is currently assisting three immigrant families:
Peruvian asylum-seeking family
Through our longstanding collaboration with Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, the Tzedek Committee has partnered with Gloria Dei to support a Peruvian family, a young couple with an eight-year-old son. The family is living in a recently renovated apartment within Gloria Dei’s church.
Current needs: Volunteer opportunities will be announced as the need arises. This family needs continued financial support either through Target or grocery store gift cards or financial donations.
For additional information: contact Diana Dean.
Guatemalan Family asylum-seeking family
Mount Zion has joined a coalition of faith communities called Asylum Coalition for Transition – Twin Cities (ACT-TC). ACT-TC is assisting a Guatemalan family of two parents and children ages seven, four, and a four-month-old. ACT-TC has rented an apartment for this family in a duplex apartment a short drive from Mount Zion.
Current needs of the family are:
- Clothing (new or gently used) for the father. He wears a medium shirt size and pants with a 32″ waist and 28″ inseam (or a small men’s pants).
- Diapers for a baby (size five and larger).
- Volunteers who speak Spanish.
- Volunteers to tutor family members in their home or through Zoom to improve their English language skills.
- Volunteers who are available to assist with transportation needs of the family. These needs primarily occur during weekdays and involve taking family members to and from doctor’s appointments or helping them run errands.
- Tutoring the children in their school subjects as needed.
- We need the assistance of physicians, dentists, mental health professionals, and nurses to consult on medical issues.
Donations can be left in the collection bin located in the alley entrance hall next to Cantor Spilker’s office. Gift cards can be dropped off at the office during office hours.
Egyptian family asylum-seeking family
In partnership with ACT-TC, we are assisting three college age children who lost their mother to cancer last fall. We are providing the family with rent assistance and assistance with education and vocational counseling.
Current needs: Volunteers who have experience in the areas of interest of the children: event planning, web design, and film (script writing).
For further information, contact Mark Joffe.
The Tzedek Committee has the following ongoing needs to help these families and other families we may assist:
- Target or grocery gift cards – $25.00 denominations (recommended)
- Laptop computers (with a camera) – All computers will be wiped clean before being given to a family.
- Cell phones – Cell phones will be returned to their factory settings before being given to the family.
- Financial assistance. If you are willing to provide a donation, please contact Diana Dean.
[The Tzedek Committee will be adding information in the near future on opportunities to advocate for immigrant justice.]