Jewish tradition reminds us again and again of the obligation that comes with freedom: to welcome, protect, and love the stranger. Freedom is not only for us to benefit from; we are required to help others access it as well. As we all watched the fall of Afghanistan in horror last summer, Temple Micah’s immigrant and refugee support group, Sukkat Shalom, signed on to sponsor a second family seeking safe haven in the United States. That family—a young couple with two beautiful children—arrived in the U.S. by way of a humanitarian camp in the United Arab Emirates in November 2021, and we welcomed them in February 2022 to the warm apartment we furnished for them in Silver Spring. In helping this family to find safety and comfort within our borders, Sukkat Shalom helps us fulfill this responsibility.
We now have the great honor of helping them begin to rebuild their lives in a new country. None of this would be possible without the overwhelming generosity of Micah members.
Dad Amir was an interpreter for U.S. special forces in Afghanistan and speaks three languages in addition to his native Pashto. Sharifa, the lovely mom, is eager to learn English and is a skilled seamstress. Mohammad (age 3) is bright and charming and devoted to his little sister Hawa (1-1/2), who is a cherubic ball of energy. The family is preoccupied with their son’s serious medical needs and grateful that he is receiving world-class care at Children’s National Hospital.
Sukkat Shalom volunteers have spent countless hours helping our new friends get oriented, purchase groceries and coats, set up bank accounts and more. A Micah volunteer has begun at-home English classes for Sharifa, and will help Amir explore continuing education.
A heartfelt thank you to the many Micah members who have donated beautiful furniture, home goods, and generous funds. There are ongoing needs, and plenty of opportunities for more Micah members to help. For instance, Amir needs advice on courses in computer coding and data management. If you’re able to help with this, or would like to join the Sukkat Shalom team, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’d like to support the family in other ways, please see this list of their most-needed items, which we will update regularly. Gift cards, in particular, will help the family purchase groceries, clothes, and meet other needs that inevitably will arise. Donations through Sukkat Shalom are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. If you purchase gift cards, please indicate your name and the amount that is loaded on each card, and mail them to:
c/o Sukkat Shalom
2829 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20007
Over the next few months, we will keep you updated on our new friends and share additional ideas as to how the congregation can support this lovely family. In the meantime, please join us on Friday, March 4, at 6:30 p.m., when Temple Micah will mark Refugee Shabbat 2022. The annual event, a project of HIAS, is a moment for congregations, organizations, and individuals in the United States and abroad to dedicate a Shabbat experience to refugees and asylum seekers.
In a moment where our world is so in need of peace, these actions of providing safety and shelter are essential. If you have questions or suggestions for the Sukkat Shalom committee, or would like to join the effort, please email email@example.com.