Almost a year ago members of Holy Blossom Temple came together to sponsor Syrian refugee families to come to Canada. Working with the Jewish Immigrant Aid Society (JIAS), people raised money, collected household items and clothes, and did many other things to make sure that the transition to life in Toronto will go smoothly for people whose lives have been torn apart by war and homelessness.
We have taken our recent Canadian tradition of welcoming refugees very seriously, and we are fulfilling the important mitzvah of protecting the vulnerable. As it is repeated over and over again in our Torah in different ways: “You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 23:9).
The families that Holy Blossom members have sponsored will be here in Toronto soon (there has been a slight delay), and they will be reunited with family members here in Toronto. When we know the date, we will let the congregation know. We still do need help with donations of certain items. Click here for more details. Also, please leave a message of welcome to the Syrian families.
One more update: Holy Blossom members are working with the organization Lifeline Syria to sponsor a family of Yazidi refugees. The Yazidis are a minority religious group in the Middle East who have been targeted by the Islamic State for genocide. Hopefully we will be able to also welcome this family soon.
As the High Holy Days approach, we reflect on our lives and how we can improve ourselves. We think about the impact we have in the world. This year at Holy Blossom we will continue to learn about the global refugee crisis, and we will engage in other social justice initiatives as we continue to do the good work that Holy Blossom has been historically known for.