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Afghan Resettlement

  ...for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. (Leviticus 19:33-34)

      

Under the leadership of Barbara and Mark Friedman, our community has volunteered to help relocate and integrate a family of Afghan evacuees to the greater Westwood area.      

Many Afghans had to flee their country on short notice and are now arriving in the Boston area. Resettlement is being coordinated locally by the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and Catholic Charities of Boston, with support from Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP),  Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) and other agencies. We are partnering with Jewish Family Services of MetroWest, an experienced provider of immigrant and resettlement services, to ensure that this family will have what they need as they take their first steps towards safety in the shelter of our welcoming community.

We are very eager and excited to be part of this incredible opportunity. Providing a legacy of welcome and acceptance from the USA to a family in need not only feels right, but furthers our mission of Tikkun Olam.   At this moment in time, this feels especially urgent. 

Updated October 3, 2022

While our Afghan family does not recognize the same New Year as we do, they do realize what an eventful year they have experienced, and welcome another year of milestones in America.

Finally all the childhood immunizations that we take for granted have been given this year to both Abubakar, our 5-year old, and Abuzar, our 15-month old. Abubakar is enrolled in kindergarten in Norwood and he wakes up eager to go. His parents are thrilled that he will be educated since they are not. Abuzar is walking now and beginning to chatter but so far without any words. His parents are devoted and caring, but as we have learned, the Afghan culture does not include talking to their children at any length. Nor can they read to Abuzar as we all did with our children. We are, therefore, beginning to get help to ensure Abuzar has all the stimulation he needs to help his speech development.

Wahidullah, much to his delight, just got his learner’s permit to drive. He will receive a few driving lessons prior to his road test, even though he can probably drive better than we can since he drove trucks and jeeps for the US Army.  Amazingly, a car is waiting for him when he passes the road test! It was donated by generous members of the congregation and the committee is so very grateful for that gift. Wahidullah’s job baking bagels continues, and it not only provides needed work, it allows for continued help with his English skills.

Sediqa is making friends where they live and recently told us she can sew traditional Afghan women’s clothes. We got her a used sewing machine and are thinking that her skill might become a means for a second income for the family. Both she and her husband have received multiple medical checks and immunizations, and are doing well with English learning. We are actually able to have short conversations with them!

The end of November 2022 will mark one year that this family has been part of our lives. While the commitment is officially one year, the committee recognizes that our relationship with them will change, but is not over. In the first year, we supported them, helped them settle and feel safe, and tried to teach them language and the ways of life here. Now we know the need to foster their self-sufficiency is even more important. We will continue to subsidize their rent until our money runs out, and will assist them when it is requested. But rather than do everything for them, we are encouraging them to do for themselves. It is indeed challenging because they neither read nor write in any language, but they are smart, eager to succeed, and increasingly more capable. We look forward to our relationship changing this year from one of teacher and guardian, to one of lasting friendship.

Thank you as always for all of your compassion and support,
The Afghan Resettlement Committee

Fri, October 7 2022 12 Tishrei 5783