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So many times throughout our history we Jews were refugees. Many of us have ancestors who came to the United States fleeing revolution or persecution, seeking only security and freedom. However our nation did not always open its doors to those seeking shelter. This is just one reason that I am so grateful for the existence of the State of Israel. Israel has taken in displaced Holocaust survivors, Sephardic Jews fleeing violence, Soviet Jews seeking freedom and Ethiopian Jews in search of opportunity. Even today Israel has opened its doors to a number of political refugees from Sudan and Eritrea. Although these refuges are not Jewish and thus not protected under the Law of Return, Israel’s Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed these refugees’ civil and human rights. Our congregation now has the chance to welcome a refugee family. We have joined with other local houses of worship in committing to resettle a refugee family here in Westport. In the ‘90s a similar interfaith coalition successfully resettled a family from the former Yugoslavia here. Today our vision is similar: to provide a refugee family with the opportunity to start a new life here in Westport, to feel secure in our community, and to achieve levels of educational and personal achievement that so many of us enjoy. We are currently seeking volunteers who are willing to commit their time to helping this family transition into their new life. Perhaps you can help them settle into their new home, learn English, navigate the school system, find appropriate medical professionals or any one of innumerable tasks that are part of this resettlement project. If you are interested in volunteering for this mitzvah of welcoming the stranger please be in touch with us at as soon as possible. And thank you in advance for helping a family find solace and peace, here in this place that we are proud to call home.

Chronicle May-April 2016  
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