By Jacque Friedland, Chair of Holy Blossom Temple’s Refugee Relief Initiative
Holy Blossom will continue to work in partnership with JIAS (Jewish Immigrant Aid Society) to support newcomers to Canada – this time, those arriving from Ukraine. JIAS anticipates that they will need volunteers and donors to help in a number of ways, including:
Document Support– This is a top priority right now. JIAS is seeking paralegals, lawyers, immigration consultants, and articling students who can help newcomers with filling out applications for entry into Canada as well as additional applications for newcomers once they have entered Canada.
Welcome Circles – JIAS is seeking teams of 5-8 volunteers who will be matched with an individual or family unit of newcomers for a 6-month to 1-year commitment. The goal of Welcome Circles is to provide coordinated, wrap-around support for newcomers by JIAS, volunteers, and the community. Welcome Circles may involve welcoming the family at the airport, securing temporary housing, helping to find long-term housing, English language supports, registering children for school and programs, social support/friendship as well as communication with the family’s JIAS Toronto settlement worker.
We are hoping to organize several Welcome Circles of Holy Blossom members. If you are interested – either individually (to join with other individuals) or as a group, please contact Jacque Friedland at [email protected] or Renee Leventhal at [email protected].
Language Support –JIAS needs additional volunteers for English Conversation Circles, English Reading Clubs, and Conversation Companions. To help newcomers acquire the language skills they will need to be successful in Canada all you need is patience and compassion. If, however, you or someone you know is fluent in both English and Ukrainian or Russian, please let JIAS know, as they need interpreters.
Monetary Donations – Newcomers arriving in Canada today – both those Holy Blossom has already committed to in the recent past, but have not yet arrived in Toronto, as well as those arriving as a result of the Ukrainian crisis are expected to have a significant need for financial support as they resettle in Canada. Thus, financial contributions for refugee relief are needed. You can send your donation to Holy Blossom and designate it for Refugee Relief.
Stay Informed — You can keep up to date with JIAS’s efforts to support the Ukraine crisis by visiting: Ukraine Update – JIAS Toronto – Jewish Immigrant Aid Services. You can subscribe to receive JIAS’s weekly e-newsletter for up-to-date developments.