Individual support to best adapt the model to your own community

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Talk with people that are already doing something similar in their communities and learn what worked and what didn't

Individual Mentoring

Get help from seasoned professionals on how to maximise the impact of your actions in your communities

Training Rational

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, nearly 6 million refugees have crossed the border from Ukraine into neighboring countries. As the Jewish communities work to support the needs of those in accommodation centers, some Ukrainian refugees are looking to move onwards to host communities in Western Europe. To help facilitate this movement, and to ensure safe and effective integration into the receiving communities HIAS, B’nai B’rith Europe, and ECJC will organize a 1 and a half day seminar on how to welcome and integrate refugees into new communities.  


Many Jewish communities have expressed interest in hosting Ukrainian refugees but do not have the knowledge or foundations to do so effectively. In response to this gap, this seminar will expose European Jewish communities and organizations, interested in hosting Ukrainian refugees, to integration approaches and methods, including HIAS Europe’s Welcome Circle programme, which is modeled after HIAS’ experience working with Jewish Family Services and congregations around the US in welcoming refugees. This training will act as a follow up to the larger Paris training that HIAS Europe, with support from HIAS US colleagues, ran in March. It will offer a more focused discussion around the applicability of Welcome Circles and other integration approaches in the European context. 

Seminar Programme

Wednesday, June 15


Social Networking activity – Introductions

Thursday, June 16


Arrival and Introductions


What is Community Integration? 


HIAS Europe’s Welcome Circle Programme




Best practices: Welcome Circle Formation




Matching Process


Legal Considerations and the TPD



Friday, June 17


What it means to be a refugee


Trauma Informed Approaches to Welcoming Refugees 




Understanding Ukraine before and after the war


Challenges: Culture, Choice, Boundaries, and Expectations


Wrap up and goodbye 

The training will address:


Introduction to community integration: how to effectively support the integration of refugees into the receiving community


An overview of HIAS Europe’s Welcome Circle programme for Ukrainians


Best practices in Welcome Circle formation, developing and populating welcome plans and budgets, researching and accessing government benefits, securing housing, and addressing employment, education, health care, and more


Legal considerations for refugees in EU countries


Cultural challenges in working with Ukrainian refugees


Matching processes for connecting welcoming groups with newcomer families and individuals


Psychosocial support and trauma-informed approaches to welcoming refugees

Only for communities with previous experience

Criteria for attending:

Attendees must read the pre training information; including the Welcome Circle one pager and guidebook

Attendees should highlight interest in forming a welcome circle or engaging in similar refugee sponsorship programmes.

Training Seminar Team

Andrea Gagne

Andrea Gagne is the Program Manager for Community Engagement at HIAS. Since 2018 she has held multiple Public Affairs roles in HIAS, and currently works to help connect the American Jewish community act in support of refugees through public educational and advocacy events and programs, as well as volunteer and sponsorship initiatives. Prior to HIAS, Andrea managed programs in Amnesty International Israel, as well as in several refugee-led community centers for African refugees in Tel Aviv; her specialties there included integration programming for refugee women and girls, as well as relocation case work and private sponsorship to Canada. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Hampshire College in the U.S., and an M.A. in Conflict Resolution from Tel Aviv University.

Isabel Burton

Isabel Burton is the senior director for community engagement programs and initiatives at HIAS. In this capacity, she shapes, implements and refines HIAS’ national public programming and community engagement initiatives within and for the U.S. Jewish community. This includes developing educational and awareness-raising programs, articulating and implementing strategies for engaging with specific demographic groups (such as college students), pursuing and launching organizational partnerships, designing public events, ensuring HIAS’ substantive presence at relevant national Jewish-world conferences and identifying ways for constituents to volunteer with HIAS. Prior to joining HIAS, Isabel worked in congregational settings and at agencies in the US and the UK, doing community organizing, community development and nonprofit management work. She holds a BA in Anthropology from Oxford University, UK and a master’s degree in International Development from SOAS, University of London, UK.

Liora Joffe

Liora Jaffe joined HIAS this year as the Relocation Programme Manager working with Jewish communities across Europe to relocate Ukrainian Refugees who have been displaced by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Originally from California, Liora moved to Berlin in 2013 to do Jewish community development. Following this she got a Masters in Nonprofit Management at the University of Hamburg focusing on the Jewish response to the 2015 wave of Refugees in Germany. Liora continued to work in the social sector as a youth coordinator for the German National Food Bank (The Tafel) and then as a Project Manager for EU funded research projects. Beyond work Liora is involved in several interfaith initiatives in Berlin and Europe including the Dialogue Perspective Program and the Muslim Jewish Interfaith Conference. In her free time Liora hosts a Jewish Women’s book club and cross stiches.

Meiron Avidan

Meiron is the Public Affairs and Community Engagement Officer at HIAS Europe, where she has been working since October 2021. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Meiron has been focusing on HAIS Europe’s Ukraine response and is working specifically with Jewish host communities, mostly in Western Europe, to facilitate the integration of refugees into these receiving communities. Before starting at HIAS, Meiron gained her Masters in International Development at the London School of Economics (LSE). She was born in South Africa, Grew up in London and has spent time living and working for NGOs in in Israel, India, and now Brussels.

Mariano Schlimovich

Mariano is the Executive Director of the European Council of Jewish Communities, a cross denominational platform bringing together over 60 European Jewish organisations from all walks of life. He oversees and executes programmes in the fields of Jewish Education, Social Welfare and wellbeing, Community development, Youth & Young Adults and brings with him over 20 years of experience. Mariano graduated from the Senior Educators Programme from the Melton Centre for Jewish Education for the Diaspora, HU of Jerusalem and was a participant in the Experiential Senior Educators Cohort from the Institute of Experiential Jewish Education. He is fluent in English, French, Spanish, Hebrew & Italian. He lives in the mountains outside Bologna but you can find him very often in different European cities.