In the history of humanity, the story of migration and displacement is as old as civilisation. Tradition shows that from Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden to Noah’s family’s epic journey to escape the flood, taking in the wanderings of Abraham and Sarah, the
history of humanity is marked by the experience of displacement and by the search for refuge. Might the concept of refugee be at the core of our human experience? Let us take Adam and Eve, archetypal figures, whose expulsion from the Garden of Eden launched them into the unknown world, forever marked by a nostalgia for a vanished home. Their story resonates deeply with the situation of today’s refugees, forced to leave their homes because of conflicts, persecutions or environmental disasters, hungering for greater security. Noah also embodies the experience of the refugee while negotiating the chaos of a flood, seeking refuge inside an ark. His story underlines the universal search for survival and the human soul’s resilience in the face of chaotic events. However, perhaps Abraham and Sarah’s saga
captures the essence of the refugees’ narrative in more powerful form. Fleeing hunger and political upheaval, they embarked on an unknown journey, seeking a safe haven in the land of Abimelech. And here, in the midst of the trials of his displacement, Abraham discovered a profound truth – the transformative power of Chesed: generosity. Acknowledging that love and compassion are the pillars of human existence, he embraced the responsibility of caring for others, thus transcending his own status as a refugee. In the face of adversity, Jewish teachings emphasise the importance of welcoming the stranger, protecting the vulnerable and defending justice. The Torah orders us to “love the stranger, for you were strangers in the
land of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 10:19), reminding us of our humanity and our obligation to extend goodness and empathy to those most in need. Taking in refugees is not only a moral imperative but also testimony to the values of compassion, empathy and justice that are at the heart of Judaism. By defending the rights of the refugees, we reaffirm our commitment to the principles of Tikkun Olam, or the repairing of the world, and strive to create a society that is juster and more compassionate towards others. To understand the situation of the refugees promotes empathy and compassion, essential qualities incorporated in Abraham’s acts of generosity (Hesed). Let us hope that, by following the example of the patriarch Abraham, today’s refugees may overcome their precarious condition and become the hosts of tomorrow.

Source: Human Rights - written by young jews from 40 countries with support of B'nai B'rith International Portugal and International Observatory of Human Rights