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: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/936516

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Page 101 of 227

allowed to practice religion. As a child, Lina didn't realize that having the word "JEW" printed in her family's passports had negative conse- quences, but persecution intensified with Perestroika in the 1990s. "Azerbaijan became ardently nationalistic. Leaflets were distributed stating, 'Armenians first. Jews second.' That's when my parents decided we had to leave," explains Lina. With both a BA and a master's degree in Public Administration under her belt from George Washington University and as the manag- ing director of a non-profit, Lina is a great role model. "I use my per- sonal experience to provide advice and reassurance that while adjustment to life in the U.S. will not always be easy, in time they will fit in." Lina continues, "Some of the volunteers who helped me and my family are still in my life, and I hope to continue being this family's friend and mentor for many years, opening their eyes to the countless opportunities America has to offer." Bonnie Rosenberg leads the employment pathway. She worked closely with the Arabic-speaking JFS staff member responsible for employment and English as a Second Language (ESL) to help find a tailoring job for one of the Syrian dads who has honed his craft since he was nine years old. Soon after his arrival, the dad received a job offer as a tailor in a men's clothing manufacturer in Haverhill, but after much deliberation, declined. Without a car or a U.S. driver's license, the job was too far from Framingham to commute by bicycle and he didn't want to uproot his family from their new wonderful home in Framingham, close to other Syrian refugee families and the TBE support network. Months later, after much angst that he should have accepted the first offer, he received another offer for a tailoring job, this time close to home in Framingham. In just a week on the job, the parent company recognized his talent and strong work ethic, and promoted him to their upscale clothing store, where he still works. Although the dad is employed, Bonnie's work is not done. She con- tinues to explore ways for the father to earn additional money to sup- port his family of six beyond the private tailoring for TBE members and friends that she coordinates. Bonnie facilitated a connection between the dad and a Harvard Business School student who speaks Arabic who has agreed to be a mentor. Together they are drafting a long-term plan to use the tailor's talents to best support his family. Former TBE preschool teacher Laura Gilman leads the education pathway. "When I left teaching, a job I loved," she says, "I never thought I would have an opportunity to feel as grateful and as happy as I do now. P H O T O C O U R T E S Y O F T E M P L E B E T H E L O H I M / P A T T E R N B Y V E C T E E Z Y . C O M Welcome the Stranger 100 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

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