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.

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Page 103 of 227

I consider the Syrian families my extended family and would do any- thing for them." Laura and a few other TBE volunteers accompanied their new families on their first Halloween trick-or-treating excursion. Laura describes the scene: "All the kids were clad in costumes and had glow lights and buckets. Even one of the moms donned bunny ears! At each door, the kids loved saying 'Trick or Treat! Thank you! Happy Halloween!' Toward the end of the outing, the children begged to visit more houses, so we left the decision to the moms … who agreed to 'two more' houses. I am sure the children will be looking forward to their next Halloween — probably starting in July!" Laura and all the TBE volunteers communicate adeptly with the Syrian families using hand gestures, pointing to pictures, and with the Google Translate app. They can also call upon team member, Stephanie Juma, who joined to interpret when needed. Stephanie, a Christian married to a Muslim, is the daughter of a Swiss mother and Lebanese father. She grew up in Jordan, and originally came to the U.S. to attend Wellesley College. A mother of two boys in the Wellesley Public Schools, she comments, "I feel blessed to be able to help out as part of the 'TBE dream team.' Despite our very different circumstances, all parents want the same things for their kids — a happy, safe, healthy life, and a good education." Stephanie and the many hands-on volunteers are thrilled at how far the family has come in less than a year in the United States. She relays a story to make the point. "On a recent visit, I asked the little girl in English about her morning in nursery school. When she didn't answer, her mom translated into Arabic for her daughter — perfectly! My jaw dropped. 'Do you realize how well you just translated? How far you've come in 10 months?' I asked her," exclaimed Stephanie. The volunteers also express admiration for the warmth, resilience, determination, and strong work ethic of the Syrian refugees. "They don't want free handouts. They qualify for free lunch, but the moms pack the kids' lunches to be certain that their children eat healthy food," states one HIAS Welcome the stranger. Protect the refugee. www.hias.org HIAS was founded in 1881 to assist Jews fleeing pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe. Guided by Jewish values and historical experience of forced migration, today HIAS assists refugees of all faiths and operates on the ground in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and the United States. Jewish Family Service of MetroWest Standing Up for Those Left Behind www.jfsmw.org Founded in 1979, JFS of MetroWest is a community-based organization standing up for those left behind. The non-profit provides vital social, health, and community services to more than 5,000 people in need within the MetroWest and Greater Boston Area annually. "Whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world." – W r i t t e n i n b o t h s a c r e d J e w i s h a n d M u s l i m s c r i p t u r e s All smiles after dentist appointments, provided free of charge by Chestnut Dental in Bedford P A T T E R N B Y V E C T E E Z Y . C O M 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 Welcome the Stranger 102 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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