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"Neighbor is not a geographic term. It is a moral concept" -Rabbi Joachim Prinz

The month of December has begun. The sun sets and darkness sets in, but the need of those around us remains.  This week here are two ways that you can make a difference.

First, please read a note from Irina about the recently arrived refugee family.

Exactly a week before Thanksgiving we welcomed the family at the Newburgh airport.   As a reminder, this is a family of five (mother, father, grandmother, two children (a five-year-old and a four-year-old), and a baby on the way. The family escaped from Eastern Ukraine in the beginning of the war. While they never expected to leave their home and they miss their old lives, they are excited and hopeful for opportunities that lay ahead of them here. And it feels like a special privilege to welcome them to the community and be a part of their journey as they try to rebuild their lives that were so suddenly and viciously uprooted. 

 In these short 2 weeks our small but mighty group of volunteers has worked to greet the family, research and look at potential apartments (an apartment has been found and we are in the final stages of securing it), assisted the family with employment authorization applications, took the family grocery shopping, hosted the family for their first Thanksgiving meal in America, started sourcing employment leads for the father and grandmother, took one of the kids for a minor emergency medical visit, and identified volunteers English tutors.

 But as we all know, life in Riverdale is expensive and any government support that the family may receive will not be nearly enough to sustain them until they are able to be self sufficient. Financial support from our communities and congregations remains critical and is urgently needed for us to be able to support this family on their journey.  So I am once again asking you to continue sharing their story with those you know. I know that we are at a time where there are so many competing asks, priorities, and crises, but this is a very concrete personal story of a family that can be helped that is now our neighbor.

 I remain grateful for your ongoing support of our refugee resettlement efforts.


And second, can help our neighbors in need -- with your spare change!

Our Hebrew School children are part of an effort to raise funds so that the Friendly Fridge can be stocked with fresh produce. They are collecting change -- change we seem to use less and less. If you have any spare change, you can give it to Shira at the Riverdale Y Sunday Market, or drop it off at RYSEC during Hebrew School on Wednesday afternoons.

Sun, December 10 2023 27 Kislev 5784