Our History

In 1882, a group of distinguished members of Philadelphia's Jewish community, led by Louis Levy, formed the Association for the Protection of Jewish Immigrants to assist the influx of Eastern European Jews coming to the Philadelphia region. The increase in Jewish migration resulted from a wave of pogroms (attacks against Jewish communities that destroyed homes and lives) in Russia that left 100,000 Jews homeless. The persecution of Jews continued unabated, compelling nearly 10,000 Jews to seek refuge in the U.S. 

Today, known as HIAS Pennsylvania, the organization works with persons of all ages, from infants to centarians. The organization maintains a tradition of special concern for women and children who have escaped family violence or repressive governments that condone discrimination. Our staff works with other faith-based groups and the larger community to advocate for a fair and humane immigration system.

HIAS Pennsylvania continues to work to create a welcoming and secure environment for immigrants and refugees and their families--from any ethnic, cultural or religious background.