NSS Beth El Welcomes Refugee Family
“The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.” Leviticus 19:34
NSS Beth El and HIAS of JCFS Chicago, welcomed a Syrian refugee family of four on May 10th. More than 40 Beth El members have reached out to volunteer their time and efforts to help this family navigate their resettlement to Chicago with dignity and kindness. The generosity and humanity of the NSS Beth El community, including the Steinberg Pre-School, has been nothing short of inspirational.
Our refugee family (2 parents and 2 teen boys age, 19 and 15) arrived mid-May. We, (Linda Kupfer, Suzie Lampert and Margaret Cohn, Beth El HIAS chairs) met them at the airport for a brief Welcome/Hello. Before they arrived they set up the apartment with the help of many NSSBE volunteers. The volunteers donated household items, bought all the groceries and came to help set up the apartment. In addition the Pre-School purchased all the new household items needed – towels, sheets, laundry bins, toiletries, etc.
We have been visiting weekly and are enjoying getting to know the family. Initially we had an interpreter (for one hour by phone), since then we rely on Google Translate and the little English they know. They will begin ESL classes soon. This brings us to the next family to arrive, the grandparents. On June 7, We schlepped furniture from self storage facility to the apartment for set up. We had the amazing help of Sam, who is their cousin and has been in the USA for 7 years. NSSBE volunteers and our refugee family helped to set up the apartment. Again groceries and household items were donated by very generous volunteers.
We also have one NSSBE girl celebrating her Bat Mitzvah in August and helping this family has been her mitzvah project. As such, she has purchased food from her own money, donated household items and come to both apts. to help with the set up. The Block family is a delight.
Our urgent need at this moment in time is to raise $10,000 for HIAS Immigration and Citizenship at JCFS Chicago to resettle this family during their first three months. We hope you’ll help support this effort with any size donation. Click here to donate.
Thank you to all of our volunteers for welcoming the stranger!