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Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society of Pennsylvania 

600 Chestnut St., Suite 500B   Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19106

Contact: Cathryn Miller – Wilson, Executive Director
(215)- 832-0900


Founded in 1882, HIASPA was devoted to welcoming Jewish immigrants and refugees to a new life in America. In the 1970s, its mission expanded due to the needs of large numbers of refugees coming to America from Vietnam. Today, HIASPA helps immigrants and refugees from all over the world, people in need of HIASPA’s services and expertise which are offered to people of any culture, race, ethnicity, and culture.


HIASPA is comprehensive in its approach: whatever unique challenges are faced by individuals and families; the staff of 100 committed professionals and countless volunteers work tirelessly to guide their clients to safety and security. All clients face the challenge of adapting to a new culture and finding the resources necessary to sustain their lives. Most have fled danger and suffered trauma on their journey. The complexity of immigration laws in the US are bewildering. HIASPA responds holistically to the array of issues immigrants face.


Clients are met at the airport and their immediate needs are taken care of. The process of finding housing, medical care, enrolling children in school, etc. often involves volunteers from houses of worship guided by HIASPA staff. HIASPA integrates legal and social services to help immigrants acclimate to their new homes, learn English, unite with their loved ones, gain citizenship and other legal statuses, find jobs, and receive any other care they require. HIASPA also advocates for immigrant rights, hoping for the day when immigration laws will provide a clear path for including those in need in American society rather than focusing on excluding people for various reasons. 


HIASPA is motivated by the mandate found in many religious traditions to “welcome the stranger.” They reduce violence by rescuing immigrants and refugees from isolation and desperation in which violence can seem like the only way forward. They reduce violence by creating communities that include people from different backgrounds and overcoming the tendency to fear (and hate) those who are different. They reduce violence by teaching by words and example that compassion brings healing and hope. HIASPA is, indeed, a Zone of Peace.   



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