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Refugee Task Force


Updated 8/27/2021

Volunteers & Donations Urgently Needed for Recent Refugees
Increasing numbers of refugees, including those from Afghanistan, are now arriving in Austin, and the need to support them is urgent. The temple's Refugee Task Force asks for your help as a volunteer and donor. This August, we have so far resettled a family of seven and a second family of four.

Donations to the Refugee Task Force fund are the best way to contribute or you may purchase goods from the Amazon wishlist, or contact congregant Russ Apfel ( for info regarding donations and volunteer opportunities. 


1.    Donate money to the Temple Beth Shalom Refugee Task Force Fund at  This is the best way to help now. When viewing the donations page, select the Refugee Task on the donation menu.

2.    Sign up on the Refugee Services of Texas website to be a volunteer.  Online volunteer training sessions are ongoing now. If you are already a RST volunteer, sign up to partner with a family and have food delivered to them. This is a critical need right now.  Go to the Volunteer Hub to sign up for these opportunities or any other opportunities as well. The RST staff contact is Lynn Burdick at

Contact Russ Apfel at if you have questions.  


About the Refugee Task Force

Temple Beth Shalom's Refugee Task Force is a grassroots community group who gather together to support and advocate for refugees. Members of the Refugee Task Force help in many different ways, from being tutors at English learning programs for adults and children, to organizing donation drives and hosting advocacy events. We have formed Welcome Teams to support two families arriving from Afghanistan. Please consider financially supporting our refugee task force to help us continue our work! 

In the Torah, we are told "The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens. You shall love each one as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt."(Lev.19:34) This commandment to welcome the stranger is the most often repeated commandment in the Torah, repeated thirty-six times. Since January 2017 as our community responded to the call of the stranger, we have opened up our hearts, hands and minds, as the doors to our country were closed shut and opened once again. 

From community service, advocacy, education, and donations, there's something for everyone interested in getting involved. Join our Facebook group to share resources and participate in discussions, or email  to be added to the Refugee Task Force mailing list. 

Fri, October 22 2021 16 Cheshvan 5782