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Support Afghan Refugees

Help the Temple Isaiah Welcoming the Stranger Sponsorship Project

November 29 Update:
The Noori family is doing well! They are gradually adapting to life in the US, and our volunteers are learning more about Afghan culture. The children have been enjoying watching Sesame Street on YouTube. Their SNAP card (Food Stamps) arrived, so they’ll soon be making trips to the grocery store. As the weather turns chilly, the family has appreciated the warm clothing we’ve given them. They will undoubtedly be surprised by our cold New England winter! Speaking of generous donations—are you graduating out of a minivan or large SVU anytime soon?  Think about donating it. The Noori family of seven could sure use a car!

November 8 Update:
Temple Isaiah’s Welcoming the Stranger (WTS) Committee is very pleased to report that the Afghan family of seven who arrived only four weeks ago is making progress daily in adapting to their new lives in the U.S. The two oldest girls, Aisha and Lina, ages 6 and 8, are excited and engaged in first and third grade in the Somerville Public Schools English Immersion Program. Joan Yarmovsky and Marge Albin have been in touch with their teachers and are pleased with the girls’ adaption to classroom learning.

Alan Millner is working with the father, Rahmat Nabi with English Language Learning (ELL) at home in the family’s apartment, enjoying sweet Afghan style tea together. More tutoring volunteers could be needed for work with the father and the mother, Lima.

Larry Fuhrman managed to successfully enroll all seven family members in MassHealth in a record four days with the help of temple member Amy Rosenthal, Executive Director of Healthcare for All (HFA). All of the family members are receiving required vaccinations, including both parents who have now received both Covid-19 vaccinations shots.

Our work has been blessed by the overflowing of support from our temple community in the form of gifts – both financial and physical – to this effort. We are also blessed with the contributions of time that our many volunteers have given to our Afghan family already. More volunteers will be needed as we continue our involvement with this wonderful family for the months ahead.

Our Leadership team is deeply involved in helping the family navigate the many challenges that they face with all of the new and unfamiliar aspects of life in America. These are the WTS team leaders who have made serious commitments to helping our Afghan family:

Transportation Coordinator - Karen Freidberg
Budget & Finance Chair - Danny Watt
Employment Committee Chair - Alan Millner
Cultural Mentors Coordinator - Sandy Bornstein
Food Maven - Bruce Lynn
Project Coordinator - Don Detweiler
Volunteer and Donations Co-Coordinators - Laura Derby and Lesley Litman
Healthcare Committee Chair - Larry Fuhrman
Education Committee Co-chairs - Joan Yarmovsky & Marge Albin, Co-chairs
Paperwork & Forms Manager - Ann Renauer
Housing Committee Chair - Pamela Mann 
Communications Director - Susan Boer 
Welcome Committee Chair - Bruce Lynn and Laura Derby

Feel free to contact anyone on the team for more information about their roles and check back at this webpage for regular updates on our family.

Helping our family succeed is the mission our volunteers are committed to pursue. We are all engaged in a great and important work that will change lives for generations to come. May God and every power beyond our own continue to bless our efforts and, most importantly, those families who today, are mourning all they have left behind and wondering what their new lives will be like. May we have many happy surprises waiting for them.

There are three ways you can help the Welcoming the Stranger Sponsorship Project:

Click here to find out how to get involved. There are many volunteer opportunities, both for simple, one-time tasks as well as sustained leadership and support roles.

Donate Household Goods and Supplies
Thanks to the overwhelming generosity and support of our congregation, we have largely succeeded in meeting all of the immediate needs that our wonderful Afghan family currently had. There is a long road ahead for our Welcoming the Stranger team to travel with our family as they begin their new life in America. There will undoubtedly be other items that the family will need before they're able to provide themselves. Please check back every so often to see if new items that become needed appear on this Signup Genius list.

Donate Financially
Make a donation to "Social Action Fund — Welcoming the Stranger,” and your contribution will be used to provide rent and home assistance, health care support, education, food, and more for the family. If you would like to donate by check, please make it payable to Temple Isaiah and note it is for Welcoming the Stranger in the memo line.

Thanks to the generosity of a temple member, we have already secured housing for the family for one year, with rent covered for the first six months. Every contribution is deeply appreciated and highly meaningful to this family’s resettlement process.

Please visit this page for frequent updates on how to get involved, or contact Don Detweiler at for information.

Other Ways to Help

- Donate to LexRAP (Lexington’s Refugee Assistance Program), where a group of Temple Isaiah members are among the volunteers working with 18 local families who are refugees from around the world, including Afghanistan. Please visit to learn more.

- Donate to the Combined Jewish Philanthropy (CJP) Fund for Afghan Immigrants and Refugees, where 100% of your donation will provide food, housing, employment services, and other basic needs to families and individuals resettling in Boston.

- Purchase items for arriving Afghani families from an Amazon Wishlist maintained by the resettlement agency Welcome MA.

The Issue, By the Numbers

- Over 65,000 people from Afghanistan have arrived in the United States, having fled their homes and families following the resurgence of the Taliban and the withdrawal of U.S. troops in August. Most of them are still sleeping on cots in 8 military bases in the U.S. while they undergo extensive security and medical screening before being resettled in communities around the country.

- 1,000 of these evacuees will arrive in Massachusetts in the coming weeks and will remain on air bases until they can access resettlement support. The State Department has advised us to expect an “avalanche” of arrivals here in Massachusetts in early October

- 130 of these people, about 25 families, will be supported by a network of community groups organized by Jewish Family Services (JFS)  and the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Boston (CCAB).

- 36 is the number of times the Torah explicitly commands the just treatment of the stranger, including Leviticus 19:34: "The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love them as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”


Sat, December 4 2021 30 Kislev 5782