Mormon church pledges $200,000 to HIAS to help resettle refugees


(JTA) — The Mormon church has pledged $200,000 in money and gifts to the refugee support and advocacy group HIAS to help it resettle refugees in the United States.

The donation announced Wednesday includes in-kind gifts of food and furniture, which HIAS affiliates will distribute to refugees across the country. It also will help the organization to offer the refuges pro bono legal services and assistance in reuniting refugees with family members.

Bishop Dean Davies of the Church of the Latter-day Saints visited the HIAS office in Washington, D.C., to deliver the pledge, the group said in a statement.

“The work that we do at HIAS comes out of the Jewish experience as refugees ourselves,” said Mark Hetfield, the agency’s president. “We know that Mormons, too, have endured the refugee experience. That makes this donation to help us help the refugees of today all the more meaningful.”

HIAS, formerly the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, was founded in 1881 to help Jewish immigrants fleeing pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe. It has pledged its support to help resettle the tens of thousands of refugees now flooding the United States.

Meanwhile, Mormon apostles joined Jewish leaders last week at the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem to commemorate the prayer by Mormon leader Orson Hyde in 1841 dedicating Jerusalem as a place for the Jewish people.

Among the Jewish leaders taking part was former U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut.

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