Singer-songwriter Regina Spektor spoke out powerfully in support of HIAS, the Jewish agency that provides aids to refugees that was one of the targets of the Tree of Life shooter’s ire.
Posting on both Twitter and Instagram, the Jewish mom, 38, shared a powerful message in support of HIAS and in solidarity with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh.
“Today my heart breaks for al the dead an injured in Pittsburgh at the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting,” Spektor writes. “This shooting happened in a Jewish community on Shabbat — and during a baby naming ceremony. The man ran in and yelled ‘Jews must die’. He was angry about HIAS — a Jewish organization that helps refugees resettle.”
HIAS Spektor explains, helped her family come to to the U.S. Spektor was born Regina Ilyinichna Spektor in Moscow in 1980 to a Jewish family. In 1989 — when she was 9 years old — her family left the Soviet Union for the United States. HIAS was a key organization that helped Soviet Jews leave the Soviet Union and resettle in America and elsewhere.
As the organization’s web site explains, “In two modern waves, the Jews of the former Soviet Union have found their way to freedom with the help of HIAS. The first wave peaked in 1979. The second wave, which began in the late ’80s, has so far brought more than 140,000 Jews to these shores for reunification with their relatives.”
As it happens, Spektor’s husband, Jack Dishel, was also born to a Jewish family in the Soviet Union. In 1979, when he was 3, HIAS helped his family move to the United States. Dishel and Spektor married in 2011; their son was born in 2014.
Founded in 1881 as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Soceity to help Jewish refugees escaping persecution in Eastern Europe and Russia, HIAS has, according to their web site, “touched the life of nearly every Jewish family in America and now welcomes all who have fled persecution.” It is likely impacted a member of your family — and mine.
Mila Kunis, for example, was born in the Ukraine — then part of the Soviet Union — and left when she was 7 years old. HIAS helped her family in America. Kunis remembers, “My parents went through hell and back. They came to America with suitcases and a family of seven and $250, and that’s it.”
As Spektor writes, HIAS has “been helping people for over 130 years. They started because of the pogroms and mass murders of Jews, but they have since helped many communities at war, and in danger. It was one of my most special full circle moments when I got to play a benefit show for HIAS.”
Read Regina Spektor’s full message here:
— reginaspektor (@respektor) October 28, 2018
Header Image via Man Alive! on Flickr.