The Social Justice Committee has some very exciting and very recent news to share with the community — the Syrian refugee family of seven we are sponsoring and that we’ve been waiting for since November of 2015 has finally been approved to come to Canada and they will be arriving on March 20th — in less than ten days!

It has been a long haul with lots of anticipation, not to mention what this journey has been like for the family who have been waiting in northern Iraq for over a year hoping to come join several branches of their family in Toronto.

Thankfully all this wait time has allowed our very active committee of over 15 people to learn, think about, and plan for the family’s arrival.  A small volunteer team will be going to the airport on the evening of Monday, March 20th, to welcome them.  Along with the help of our partnering settlement agency, Jewish Immigrant Aid Services (JIAS Toronto), we are in good shape as far as being able to provide temporary shelter, clothing, and other household necessities for the family when they arrive.  We’ve arranged for temporary housing through a volunteer organization called “WeHost Refugees” — a sort of Air B&B for newcomers. Now we can step up our search for permanent housing and help the family move in within the next few months. Hopefully, we’ll find something pretty soon.

One immediate thing we could use assistance from the wider community on is to locate two unlocked cell phones for the family’s use that are in good condition and not currently tied to a plan.  They can be either android (i.e. Samsung) or Apple cell phones, but need to have an operating system (i.e. a version), that is currently supported by Google or Apple.  If you, or anyone you know of, can donate a cell phone, please email us.

In future, we will post information about volunteer opportunities and other social and learning events relating to the refugee sponsorship our community has undertaken and the unfolding journey that will now just be beginning!  Due to privacy issues, we can’t divulge a lot of information about the family yet, but we will be posting stories regularly in the weeks and months to come about our experience as volunteers in a Jewish social justice context.

Join us in saying Welcome (“ahlan wa shaman“), and you can listen to this phrase right here in Arabic.

Share with us in prayers and thoughts of thankfulness for the family’s safe arrival and their new life soon to be unfolding here in Canada.

~ The Danforth Jewish Circle Social Justice Committee

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