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 95 of 227

can do this. We must do this.'" Just a few days later on August 11, 2016, Ed received a text from JFS CEO Marc Jacobs, exclaiming, "We did it! Syrian refugee families are coming to Boston." Today, eight brave Syrian families who fled war in Syria three to five years ago and waited in Jordan, Lebanon, or Turkey for a country to offer them refuge, are living right here in Greater Boston. Six live in Framingham, one in Needham, and one in Boston. Thanks to the dedi- cation of HIAS, JFS, local churches, mosques, temples, and countless community volunteers — 18 children and 16 adults now have a chance for a healthy, productive, peaceful life. Another member of TBE, Ed Shapiro, was also deeply moved by the plight of refugees. Ed was pursuing what he calls "an audacious idea" — to mobilize the Greater Boston Jewish community to lead an effort to bring Syrian refugee families right here to Boston. "The community had never done anything like this before. The State Department had said no. The economics made no sense. The politics were too controversial. The needs of the families too great," explains Ed of the hurdles he knew he had to clear. Nonetheless, Ed pushed forward working closely with the national resettlement agency, HIAS; Jewish Family Services (JFS) of MetroWest; and the State Department to be ready for the day when the U.S. would start admitting Syrian refugees. "I realized we would need to raise a lot of money and mobilize a network of very committed volunteers. When I explained my vision to Michael's team, they replied unanimously, 'We Syrian refugee children with three people instrumental to their arrival in Boston (l to r): Ed Shapiro and Barbara Shapiro of Temple Beth Elohim, Wellesley; and JFS MetroWest CEO Marc Jacobs Refugee Facts Definitions: Refugee Someone who has been forced to flee his or her country due to war, violence, or persecution. Internally Displaced Person Someone who has had to leave home for the same reasons, but remains in his/her country. In 2017, there were more than 65 million refugees and displaced people around the world. Roughly one percent of the worlds' refugees today have an opportunity to be resettled. Recent studies have found that resettling refugees in a community often has a positive effect on the local economy and wages; some cities have even found that resettled refugees play a critical role in their revitalization. Famous refugees include Albert Einstein, Madeleine Albright, Marc Chagall, and the current Dalai Lama. SOURCES: www.unhcr.org / www.keysforrefugees.org / The Washington Post / PBS P A T T E R N B Y V E C T E E Z Y . C O M P H O T O S 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 94 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 Welcome the Stranger

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