On this week’s episode of the Seekers of Meaning TV Show and Podcast, Rabbi Sarah Bassin, director of clergy and congregations for HIAS, discusses the organization’s long history of helping refugees and immigrants.
HIAS, originally the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, provides vital services to refugees and asylum seekers around the world and advocates for their fundamental rights so they can rebuild their lives. The agency focuses on refugee rights and resettlement, legal support, economic inclusion, community mental health, and emergencies worldwide. Its services are not limited to the Jewish community.
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About the Guest
Rabbi Sarah Bassin
Rabbi Sarah Bassin serves as the Director of Clergy and Congregations for HIAS where she helps connect synagogues and their spiritual leaders to the work of aiding and advocating for refugees and asylum seekers. Prior to this role, she was the associate rabbi at Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills where she drove congregation-based justice work.
She began her rabbinate as the founding executive director of NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change where she built minority-based coalitions. Under her leadership, NewGround was named one of the 50 most innovative Jewish organizations in the United States by Slingshot Guide and was recognized by Governor Jerry Brown of California as the state’s faith-based organization of the year in 2013.
Rabbi Bassin’s demonstrated track record of anticipating trends in political and communal change is coupled with the courage to help lead communities through thoughtful processes of intentional transformation. She now serves on the boards of NewGround and UpStart — a national organization that has helped over 100 innovative Jewish nonprofits launch or scale up. She also serves on the advisory boards of the New Israel Fund, Hand in Hand Schools, the Jewish Center for Justice, and Tivnu: Building Justice.
Rabbi Bassin has built an expertise in interfaith civilian diplomacy, traveling with elite delegations of faith and political leaders to England, France, Germany, Qatar, Azerbaijan, and Iran. For her work, she was named a fellow of Security and Religious Freedom at the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations. NPR’s On Being featured Rabbi Bassin for her organizational innovation and interfaith work.