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Refugee Support Initiative 

01/13/2017 09:03:57 AM

Jan13

Dear Young Israel of Sharon Community, 

 

Our world is facing a serious refugee crisis, the likes of which has not been seen since World War II. Tens of millions of people have been displaced by global conflict, including hundreds of thousands of Syrians who are fleeing from their country's brutal civil war. America's oldest Jewish refugee aid agency, HIAS, aptly sums up our responsibility at this moment in history: "We used to help refugees because they were Jewish. Now we help refugees because we are Jewish."

 

Many in our community are wondering how we can possibly help refugees, from those who are in camps overseas to those settling into new lives in the US. A small group of us here at shul, in coordination with Rabbi Cheses and the Chessed Committee, are figuring out how to get involved. We're talking to our friends at other shuls and religious institutions. We've been in touch with JF&CS Metrowest, which works with HIAS to resettle refugees in Massachusetts. We've learned that at this time, very few refugees are being resettled in our state -- probably seven families this year.

 

Our research has led us to believe that the best way for us to provide direct help is partner with NGOs who are doing this work and to assist them by collecting winter clothes and food supplies for Syrian refugees living in camps in Jordan and Turkey.  Towards that end, we have established a connection with BFRS (Boston Friends of Refugee Support), which works with an organization called NuDay Syria to send monthly shipping containers of donations overseas, and sends regular updates on what is needed.

 

We are organizing our own Young Israel of Sharon monthly collections. The Rapalino family has generously agreed to store donated supplies in their basement at 229 East St. Items can be dropped off Mon-Thurs. Please call or text Florenza at (603) 326-8556 to arrange for a specific time. Once a month the collected goods will be sorted and transported to NuDay’s warehouse in Nashua, NH, where they will be packed for shipping. 

 

NuDay is currently seeking: Gently used winter coats and shoes/boots, as well as the following food items: beans, rice, protein bars, infant formula, tuna, flour, and lentils. 

 

So, ways to help include: 

  • Donating clothing and food items

  • Requesting donations from your friends and neighbors

  • Sorting items once a month

  • Driving collected goods to Nashua, NH

 

Want to know more? A leading member of BFRS (Boston Friends for Refugee Support) will be at the home of Debbie and Josh Buchman at 64 Ashcroft Road on Thursday, January 19th at 2 pm to talk about her experiences in supporting refugees abroad and giving an introduction how to get involved. Feel free to bring your kids. We'll send out notes from the meeting for those who are interested but can't make it. 

 

If you want to get involved with this effort please be in touch with Devorah Kosowsky at dkosowsky@gmail.com  or DeDe Jacobs-Komisar at djkomisar@gmail.com

 

We look forward to working on this together.

 

Thank you and tizku l'mitzvot,

 

Devorah Kosowsky, Rina Hoffman, DeDe Jacobs-Komisar, Debbie Buchman, Rebecca Raub, Jodi Ephraim, Emily Rapalino and Rabbi Cheses

Thu, May 23 2019 18 Iyyar 5779