As we read the news of the American exodus from Afghanistan, we, as both Jews and Americans, feel compelled to respond to Afghans who are now in great jeopardy as a result of having assisted Americans during the past 20 years. Catholic Charities (one of the nine authorized State Department agencies to engage in resettlement work) and JCRC are reaching out to synagogues and churches, a truly interfaith effort, committed to accepting and sponsoring new families.
We are in conversation with these agencies about what will be needed, volunteer training, and available social services. As of this writing, we do not yet know when families or individuals will arrive, nor from where. Because of different immigration pathways, some will receive SIVs (Special Immigration Visas), and some will be “parolees,” those who await further clearance and require a US sponsor in the US willing to financially guarantee their first year here. THAT’S US at TBE!! The sponsoring group in our geographic area must raise, depending on family size, $20,000 to $30,000 per family. We do not yet know if these new arrivals will be able to work or what government support (less than what refugees receive) will be possible.
Those of you who assisted with the Hayani and Aielou families during these past 4 years recognize that it “takes a village.” We are deeply grateful to all who devoted hours and hours to assisting with their resettlement during these past 4 years. It has been deeply rewarding to witness their growth as they learn English, attend schools, develop skills, advance in their jobs, and adapt to many changes in their lives. In addition, it is our intention to work toward the reuniting of Syrian families, many of whom remained in Syria or in refugee camps, but this is likely to be a more long-range goal because family unification has a different resettlement track.
Please let us know if you are interested (not a commitment at this time) in assisting with our new efforts. Our Immigration Justice Group has more than doubled to well over 100 in just the past month as many have felt the urgency to help Afghan and other refugees. Some of you have already offered to host in your homes; others have expressed interest in assisting with finding housing and furnishings; tutoring if necessary; finding employment, enrolling children in school, transporting, locating medical care and providing financial assistance.
Because we are expanding our efforts, we are renaming our Syrian Resettlement Fund the “New Americans Immigration Fund.” Should you wish to make a donation, please click here or mail a check payable to Temple Beth Elohim noting in the memo line “New Americans Immigration Fund.” The new fund can be found under Giving/Tzedekah once you open the drop down menu on the donor form. (We are segregating existing donations made for the Syrian effort and maintaining a separate balance sheet for those dollars.)
If you have any questions, we encourage you to contact any member of the leadership team::
Join us online on Friday, August 27 at noon to learn more about how you can get involved:
Afghan Immigrant Resettlement Sponsorship