Wed, Apr 05, 2017
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM


"For you were strangers in the land of Egypt"
The Question of Jewish Responsibility Towards Asylum Seekers

Panel discussion featuring:

Mutasim Ali - Leading refugee activist and former Executive Director, African Refugee Development Center

Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb - Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation

Rotem Ilan - Founder, Israeli Children 

Wednesday, April 5th, 7:00 - 9:00 pm

Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation
7727 Persimmon Tree Lane, Bethesda, MD 20817

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The last few years have awakened the world to the tragic reality of displacement and exile. Stories and pictures across social media have put faces on the millions of people who have fled their homes or been forcibly moved. The Jewish people are all too familiar with these stories. From crossing deserts in search of a home to fleeing genocide, we have relived the experience of exodus time and again. .  

But how does this awareness translate to the current reality, in the US and in Israel? How should American Jewish communities support immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers? And how can we play a positive role in Israel? 

Thank you to Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation for hosting this important discussion. 


Mutasim Ali is a leader of the African asylum seeker community in Israel, previously served as Executive Director of NIF grantee: African Refugee Development Center and currently studies human rights law in Israel. In June 2016 Mutasim became the first and only Sudanese national to be granted refugee status by Israel. Mutasim has been living in Israel as an asylum-seeker since 2009 and in 2016 received NIF’s Gallanter Prize for Emerging Israeli Social Justice Leaders.

Rotem Ilan is the founder of the NGO Israeli Children, which led the struggle against the deportation of Israeli-born children of migrant workers. In recognition of her outstanding contribution to social justice in Israel, Rotem was awarded the 2010 Dror Prize for Social Change; the 2013 NIF Gallanter Prize for Social Leaders; and the 2014 Emile Zola Notable Human Rights Defenders Award. Rotem was the first social activist to be listed in Globes Newspaper’s ‘Israel’s 50 most influential women’, along with some of the country’s most influential businesswomen and Members of Knesset. Rotem holds a B.A in Psychology and Special Education and a Master’s degree in Psychology from Tel Aviv University. She is a board member of the Hotline for Migrants and Refugees and The Levinski Garden Library for Refugees and Migrant Workers.

Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb has served Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation ever since his ordination from Philadelphia's Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. A Magna Cum Laude graduate of Brandeis University (1991) with a Doctorate of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary (2009), he has previously worked at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Conservative Camp Ramah in New England, CLAL (the Center for Learning and Leadership) in New York, and a student pulpit in St. Croix, USVI. A Past President of the Washington Board of Rabbis, Fred is also active in interfaith, social justice, environmental, and Reconstructionist movement leadership. He currently serves as Chair of the national board of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life and as Immediate Past Chair of Greater Washington Interfaith Power & Light and on the board of the Shalom Center. He has written adult education curricula about Israel, and contributes regularly to Moment Magazine among other publications. 

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