Welcoming immigrants and refugees is embedded deep in the core of our Temple’s history and Jewish tradition. In fact, it is a commandment mentioned 36 times in the Torah. Email TBA.ImmJustice@gmail.com to join the Immigrant Justice Action Team, receive our emails, and find out how you can get involved.
Resettling a Family Fleeing from Ukraine
Spring Brings New Beginnings- May 2023
update from Mona Rowe, on behalf of Temple Beth Am’s Welcome Circle
We are happy to share that Pavel now has a permanent job, which would have been nearly impossible for him to access without a car! Pavel starts work at 5 AM but returns by 2 PM. He is working for TESS, an international technology company that opened a new facility in Tukwila and helps to deploy, decommission, and dispose of a range of technology assets.
The Job – Proudly, Pavel was the first to be hired in a group helping to prepare Amazon facilities for the return of its employees to their offices, and to help employees continue working efficiently. Besides helping Pavel improve his English daily, the job allows Pavel to work in the many skyscrapers that he loves architecturally (and which they don’t have in Ukraine) and to drive new company vans.
Being CLEVER – Pavel is enrolled in a new program at Jewish Family Services: the CLEVER (Career Ladder for Educated and/or Vocationally Experienced Refugees) program. Among other tasks, it assists refugees, who are foreign-trained professionals, earn the US credentials they may need to work in their fields of expertise (Pavel has a master’s degree in computer science.)
Meanwhile … Hanna is taking a remote and difficult high-level English course at Highline College, then caring for Darina and Miroslav when they return from school. Darina absolutely loves her Head Start program and we found out that Miroslav loves basketball. (They now have two basketballs, one for each child.) The TBA Welcome Circle is helping to identify summer camp programs and assist the family as they transition from various benefit programs to a level of self-sufficiency by the end of the year.
AIR CONDITIONERS/PURIFIERS AND FANS ARE APPRECIATED!
Seattle has already experienced some of the hottest temperatures recorded in May. The smoke is already here from Canada. Please contact Mona Rowe (email@example.com) if you have an extra room air conditioner or some fans to help the family, who live in a very warm 2nd-floor apartment.
PS – Grateful and Coping with the War- The family never asks for anything. We simply try to anticipate their needs and they remain eternally grateful for Temple Beth Am’s warm and generous welcome. We hear stories of how their families are surviving in their personal diaspora, with members scattered in Ohio and Iceland, and parents and a brother still in Ukraine. Given the growing Russian offensive, the Dolzhenkovs worry constantly about their family members in Ukraine as they deal with their own life stresses in the United States. The Welcome Circle’s goal is simply to reduce as many stressors as we can and help the family remain healthy and feel safe and comfortable in their new Seattle home.
AIDNW Needs Our Help
AIDNW assists immigrants as they are released from detention at Tacoma’s Northwest ICE Processing Center (formerly called the Northwest Detention Center). After spending days, weeks, or months in detention, the newcomers are greeted by AIDNW volunteers who provide them with backpacks and seasonally appropriate clothing and help arrange transportation to their next destinations. This summer, Beth Am partnered with the sisterhood of Temple Beth El in Tacoma to provide sack lunches for travelers. Click here to learn about volunteering with AIDNW. Click here for an updated Amazon Wish List of AIDNW’s specific needs.
Afghan Refugee Resettlement Effort
In August 2021, a team from TBA, in collaboration with Congregation Beth Shalom, met with Jewish Family Service (JFS) and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to welcome Afghan Refugees to Seattle and provide them with furnished homes. Over the next four months we helped collect items for two full households, and to manage the actual move-in. We organized volunteers, raised funds, and recruited in-kind donations to set up apartments for two newly arrived Afghan refugee families.
TBA Volunteers took on moving, storing, and setting up apartments. We collected over $6,000 of new household items for two families. In addition, dozens of beautiful afghans were knitted for the family members. Through our efforts, two families, newly arrived in our community, now have safe homes. And we continue to work with JFS and IRC moving in other families, providing citizenship classes and other help.
There are so many ways that we can continue to help “our newly arrived community members” feel safe and welcome. Partnering with JFS and IRC has opened many more opportunities to engage including setting up more apartments, expanding legal support opportunities, or fulfilling other JFS and IRC volunteer support requests. The Torah tells us 36 times to “welcome the stranger,” and that’s exactly what we are continuing to do.
Learn about U.S. immigration policies:
B-Mitzvah Project Suggestions Related to Immigration
There are several ways to consider shaping a bar/bat mitzvah project that will allow you to bring awareness to the global refugee crisis and act in support of the U.S. refugee resettlement program. Click here for HIAS b-mitzvah project suggestions.
Temple Beth Am 2017 Resolution for Immigrant Justice
With our Board of Directors’ action in 2017, Temple Beth Am joined a growing cohort of Reform congregations that signed the Religious Action Center’s Brit Olam (Covenant with our World) and declared themselves to be Immigrant Justice Congregations. Read the Board’s Resolution on becoming an Immigrant Justice Congregation here
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