WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/936516

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Page 94 of 227

please put aside any political beliefs about the United States' refugee resettlement policies for just a few minutes and focus, instead, on the human side of the issue — the over- whelming sense of desperation that pushes people to flee their country seeking safety for their children and themselves. For most, it is hardly a choice. It is purely about survival. Driven out by the horrors of war, violence, famine, or persecution, refugees leave behind every single thing they know — their home, community, job, culture, extended family, and friends — often with little money and few belongings. It is a bold and courageous act, beyond comprehension for most of us. During the Yom Kippur service in the fall of 2016, Rabbi Joel Sisenwine of Temple Beth Elohim (TBE) of Wellesley announced the formation of a Syrian Refugee Resettlement Team at the synagogue and drew a connection for congregants between the Holocaust and the plight of the Syrian families. "Welcome the stranger." "Never again." "The St. Louis.*" These three phrases captured the Biblical, moral, and historical calls to action. Michael Gilman, a past president of TBE, led the team, drawing in more than 100 congre- gants to "welcome the stranger." They worked diligently advocating for refugee rights and to raise money for Syrian families resettling in Canada, since, at that time, the United States government was admitting only a few Syrian refugees into the country. E L I Z A B E T H S U N E B Y writer Welcome Stranger the M A P I M A G E B Y M E D I A B A K E R Y ; P A T T E R N B Y V E C T E E Z Y . C O M An interfaith collaboration to resettle Syrian refugee families *The St. Louis was a German ocean liner carrying more than 900 European Jewish passengers fleeing the Third Reich who had applied for U.S. visas that wasn't allowed to dock in Cuba or the U.S. and was forced to return the passengers to Europe. W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s p r i n g 2 0 1 8 93

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