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Supporting Refugees

Below are links to some of the organisations we care about and support, including emergency appeals for Ukraine, practical action, volunteer roles and some advice on what we can do.

Click here for information on how we can help refugees from Afghanistan (who still need our help).

Ukraine Emergency Appeals

World Jewish Relief Ukraine Appeal

World Jewish Relief has launched a special appeal. Paul Anticoni, CEO of WJR, writes:

We have access to the country and, via our partners, are getting supplies in, and people out, every day. We are also scaling up our refugee employment programmes in preparation to assist Ukrainian refugees arriving in the UK. But we urgently need more donations. The need for our humanitarian assistance is astronomical and increasing by the day. So far, our appeal has raised £3.5 million, but we now expect we will need £10 million to spend over the next 6-12 months on meeting urgent needs.

To donate click here.

Masorti Olami Ukraine Appeal

Masorti Olami, which supports Masorti congregations across the world, is appealing for our direct help:

The needs in Ukraine are changing and growing daily, based on the situation on the ground. We have compiled the most pressing needs that have been shared with us by our representatives in the communities in Ukraine, towards which your donations are and will be going. While it is still extremely difficult to transfer funds to those on the ground, together with our partners at The Schechter Institutes, we have found several reliable ways to get our communities the necessary funds across the borders and into Ukraine to where it is needed most.

Click here to donate to their appeal via Masorti Judaism in the UK.

Click here for their latest update. On Monday night, 14th March, hear directly from Masorti Europe at this event.

Practical Actions

NNLS Ukraine Response Coordination

If you would like to offer your services as a Russian/Ukrainian Translator, Host, Therapist, Teacher, Friendship Mentor, Admin Mentor or generally (eg lifts) please email We are creating a list of volunteers and as soon as we have established how exactly we can help, we will be in touch.

Do also contact us if you have relatives in the region you are concerned about, and would like to be put in touch with others for peer to peer support.

Homes for Ukraine

People who would like to host refugees need to complete the form on the government web portal which is now live and is called Homes for Ukraine and this WJR registration form. Please also email to let us know.

Petitioning the Government

The Board of Deputies has petitioned the government to speed up and simplify the process for entering the UK. Confusion and delays have caused considerable added suffering. See the letter here. Feel free to contact your MP.

NNLS Ukraine Events

Click here for details and to register for Voices from Ukraine on Sunday 3rd April at 6.00pm on Zoom.

If you missed the NNLS event Ukraine: What this means for Freedom, Future and Humanity that took place on 6th March with reflections from Jonathan Freedland, Hagai Segal and Rabbis Shoshanah Boyd Gelfand and Jonathan Wittenberg, the video is available here. The full conversation between Anne Applebaum, Timothy Snyder and Yuval Noah Harari can be found here.

More ways to help... and some advice

Judith Fagelson, a member of our community who works for World Jewish Relief, writing in a personal capacity has kindly sent us this:
  • Pace your support. Right now there is a huge influx of support and attention, masses of funding coming in, offers of in-kind donation, volunteering - all of it needed, all of it welcome. But this is going to be a long-term grind. The war is only 8 days old. It is likely to be protracted. Even if it were to end tomorrow, the reconstruction and rebuilding of lives will take years. Inevitably media attention will turn elsewhere, this groundswell of support will drop off. So, the single best piece of advice I can give would be to be patient, and to continue to be there offering support in months and years down the line. It is better to offer less, but to offer it consistently than to offer a large amount, once.
  • Donate funds, not goods. There are definitely huge material needs, both among those in Ukraine and those who have fled, or are fleeing. The greatest needs right now are for food, water, pharmaceuticals, medication. However - for the moment, at least - these goods can be procured locally and so the most cost- and time-efficient way to get the right things to the right people is to donate funds - either directly to organisations in Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Moldova, or to international organisations with a presence there (such as World Jewish Relief).
  • Attend solidarity rallies and protests. Events in London are organised here. Most, if not all, university towns also have a Ukrainian society, and most of those are organising local rallies. 
  • Write to your MP calling for a migration routes for Ukrainian refugees to the UK. At the moment, there are very limited legal routes for Ukrainians to claim asylum here. World Jewish Relief is calling on the Home Office to instigate a resettlement scheme.
  • Challenge disinformation. This is particularly relevant to people who speak Russian, or who know anyone in Russia, but is also sound advice for all. As you are no doubt aware, mainstream Russian news - and fringe journalism outside Russia - paints this war as a peacekeeping operation aimed at "liberating" Russians in Ukraine from fascist rule and genocide. Challenging disinformation is gruelling and often thankless - I do my best but don't always have the strength to say as much as I should - but it is important. There are fantastic media outlets in both Ukraine and Russia which area doing a fantastic job providing info in English, Ukrainian and Russian. I would strongly welcome anyone to read, share, educate.
Ukrainian-based media:
Russian independent media:

Volunteer Roles

Could you run a telephone befriending project for women refugees from Afghanistan?

Six months on from the fall of Kabul, many Afghan families who arrived in the UK are still living in hotels. While the men often have good English, many of the women do not. As a result, they often experience loneliness, leading to mental health issues.

JCORE is setting up a telephone befriending project to match refugee women with trained volunteers for weekly phone calls. The volunteer will simply be a friendly ear, someone with whom to share their thoughts and experiences and practise their English (through an interpreter, if needed).

We are now looking for a co-ordinator to set up and manage the project. Working from home, you will be the first point of contact for potential volunteers and will match them with those women who have expressed interest. This is a voluntary role and will probably take no more than two to three hours a week, dropping to one hour a week once the project is up and running.

Because of the nature of the work, you will need to undergo an enhanced DBS-check and appropriate training.

If you feel you fit the bill and have some time to spare, please email a CV and a few paragraphs on why you are interested to  For more information please call 020 8455 0896.

Organisations we support

NNLS Destitute Asylum Seeker’s Drop In

The Drop in supports over 450 destitute asylum seekers and their children every month. Our volunteers offer legal signposting, appointments with doctors and therapists, nutritious cooked food, nearly-new or new clothing and footwear and a welcoming, warm and friendly space. Every client also receives a supermarket voucher and travel expenses. Click here for their website.

One to One Children’s Fund

Providing one to one counselling and confidence–building group arts activities for young refugees in partnership with Barnet Refugee Service and Wac Arts. Click here for their website.

Refugees at Home

For many, getting a helping hand and somewhere to stay at a time of crisis, is all they need to get established in a new life. We match those with a spare room in their homes with refugees and asylum seekers who need a place to stay. Click here for their website.

Our Second Home

Our Second Home is a project for refugees and asylum seekers who are based in the UK and are aged between 14 and 18. Click here for their website.


Since 1976, JCORE has worked both inside and outside the Jewish community to provide a Jewish voice on Race and Asylum issues. We work to engage the Jewish Community in social action in the wider society, focussing on race equality and justice for refugees and asylum seekers. Click here for their website.

Choose love (Help Refugees)

Help Refugees goes where the need is greatest. We fill the gaps and act where others won’t. Sometimes that means Search & Rescue boats. Sometimes it means providing food or safe, secure long-term housing. Since 2015, we’ve supported over 120 incredible projects and reached over one million people. Click here for their website.

New Citizens’ Gateway (Barnet Refugee Services)

BRS aims to create a society that respects and values difference between people and sees this difference as an asset where refugees and asylum seekers recognise themselves and are recognised by others as human beings of equal status. Click here for their website.
Click here to view online

Supporting Refugees from Afghanistan

Wednesday 25th August 2021

17 Elul 5781

Dear Community,

Members have been contacting the Synagogue asking what we can do to support refugees from Afghanistan, to whom our hearts go out.

I wrote the following this morning in support of World Jewish Relief – and other – appeals:
We watch with horror the misery of thousands trying to escape the Taliban. What we see is a mere fraction of the terror. To Afghan people already here the news, or lack of news, from relatives fills them with dread. ‘You know the soul of the refugee,’ says the Torah. We know too the desperate struggle to escape, the pain of separated families, the bewilderment of strange lands, the heart-wounds of generations of trauma. We need to help. Whatever we can do, we must.
Most advice is that the best we can do at present is to support those NGOs well placed to help. Here are appeals from JCORE, the Jewish Council for Racial Equality, WJR, World Jewish Relief, and RTI, Refugee Trauma Initiative.

Airbnb plans to offer help with accommodation in the US and the UK. We await more details. Members are also in touch with Barnet Council, as any serious effort will require the collaboration of national and local government, supported by the voluntary sector.

There are a number of other organisations doing important work with refugees, that you can find on our website here. And Care4Calais are collecting clothes, shoes, phones and other essentials and are in need of volunteers to help with Afghan refugees.
Zarlasht Halaimzai, herself a refugee from Afghanistan, wrote a heart-rending ‘long read’ for Monday’s Guardian.
I wrote earlier today for London Jewish News.
The terrible plight of so many in Afghanistan is close to our own experiences in so many ways. We cannot just be bystanders.
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg

Sat, 13 July 2024 7 Tammuz 5784