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Welcoming the Stranger News

On June 1, 2022, the Noori family moved from Somerville to Sacramento CA, home to over 10,000 Afghan refugees. With the help of army friends, they found an apartment in a neighborhood filled with many young Afghan families. Before leaving, Rahmat Nabi assured us that friends don’t forget each other when separated by a distance.  We have indeed heard from them and are delighted that their initial welcome has been positive.

A Look Back

The Temple Isaiah Welcoming the Stranger (WTS) Committee was formed five years ago to address the worldwide refugee crisis happening at the time. In the fall of 2021 the Committee responded to another refugee crisis—to the roughly 84,000 Afghan evacuees that were headed to the US, over 1500 to the Boston area. After we announced our intention to sponsor an Afghan family, we received an enormous outpouring of support from our temple community in the form of in-kind and financial donations and volunteer commitments.

On October 11, 2021 we welcomed the Noori family at Logan airport. An apartment in Somerville awaited them, made available by a Temple member and fully furnished by donations from our community. For eight months Rahmat Nabi, Lima and their five children—ranging in age from ten months to eight years—were guided by devoted members of the WTS committee as they adapted to their new country.

We met twice a week with Lima to teach her the rudiments of English, enrolled the three older girls in schools and Rahmat Nabi in English classes. We helped them secure their benefits, open a checking account and get direct payment for utility bills. The entire family received up-to-date medical and extensive dental care. We introduced them to local mosques, arranged their transportation and showed them how to use the T. We helped them navigate grocery shopping, assisted Rahmat Nabi in finding work and moved them along their path to citizenship. In short, we provided them with a foundation which will allow them to thrive in this country. Along the way, we became friends.

The Nooris have expressed tremendous gratitude for our support these eight months. We agree with their decision to move, to live among family and friends in a supportive Afghan community. We feel good about all we accomplished together—the seven members of the Noori family are poised to start their next chapter.

Over the following weeks, our committee will discuss the next steps for continuing the work of Welcoming the Stranger—considering supporting a refugee family from another country in turmoil. If interested in joining the discussion, please contact Don Detweiler at

Mon, June 5 2023 16 Sivan 5783