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Welcoming the Stranger News

November 29
November 8

As the new year begins, the family has been living in Somerville for three months. SNAP cards, bank accounts, vaccinations, and medical appointments are all in order. The two oldest girls are in school and 3-year old Adnan and 5-year old Behisht have been enrolled in a Head Start program. Lima is at home with the baby and is making progress with English learning.  

Rahmat is anxious to get his driver’s license and to get a job. You can help him achieve those goals via Zoom! Sign up to spend some time teaching the necessary vocabulary and rules for the driver’s test or help him with job interview skills. The MA Driver’s Manual is available online.

Volunteers are always needed for transportation to appointments. Home visits have been curtailed, but those of you with young kids can consider an outdoor playdate or excursion with the children. The family would love to go to the zoo. Interested in riding the T and helping Rahmat and Lima with public transportation? There are so many opportunities for you to get involved. Please contact Laura Derby at and let her know what you’d like to do. Please include your phone number.

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November 29:
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. Our Afghan family of seven could sure use a car!

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November 8:
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.

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Fri, January 21 2022 19 Sh'vat 5782