More than $40,000 from Temple Israel and the Michigan Muslim Community Council will be sent to southern border to aid asylum seekers.

Temple Israel has raised approximately $40,000 for those seeking asylum at the U.S. southern border with the help of the Michigan Muslim Community Council.

Their initial goal of $6,000 was surpassed quickly, as numerous families in the area contributed to the Congregation Albert project which provides families at the New Mexico border with toiletries, food, underwear and bus tickets.

“We’ve had a few families come forward with major gifts, but the vast majority of this money is coming from $36, $54 or $120 from people,” Rabbi Jen Lader says. “Hundreds of people have come out of the woodwork. I’ve been a part of Temple Israel for a number of years and this is the first campaign that I’ve ever seen these types of numbers.”

The Jewish and Muslim communities have also come together to support those seeking asylum in New Mexico, which Lader says is important for two communities that have been historically marginalized and persecuted.

“I think our community is special because we work all the time to cultivate excellent relationships with other faith leaders,” Lader says. “We understand what it is to need the help of others in power and privilege. This was a no-brainer for us — this effort is a multi-faith effort — it is an issue of humanity.”

The $40,000 estimate from Lader is $14,000 more than Fox 2 Detroit reported on July 9, as the community contributions continue to pour in. The initial $6,000 goal was to help a bus full of about 50 people, which means the total helped by Temple Israel and the Muslim Community Council is nearing 350.

The broader immigration issue has divided the nation, but the local community has banded together to raise money for Congregation Albert.

“The reception has been fully positive,” Lader says. “No matter what your political views are, children are sleeping on the ground, people are sick and starving. It’s been universally positive — I haven’t heard and negative feedback, which as a congregation and as a rabbi is very atypical.”

To donate to asylum-seeking families, visit Temple Israel’s “Help from Afar” page.

Read More: What We Can Do About the Border Crisis

 

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