Welcoming a Refugee Family to Ann Arbor

We are excited about the opportunity to welcome a refugee family to Ann Arbor, working together with all the other Jewish communities in Ann Arbor and Jewish Family Services to bring this about. We hope to build our muscle with the first family in order to support others in the future. 

Below is a communal letter that went out to all the Jewish congregations/minyanim in Ann Arbor, explaining what individuals can contribute in support of this effort. Please join us in sharing your time and treasure toward this important work. 

To members of the Pardes Hannah community,

Most of our family histories include stories of caring people who stepped up to help our great grandparents, grandparents, or parents resettle in this country. Today we are challenged to step up and help another generation of refugees.

You have seen the news: The United States initially expected to admit 125,000 refugees this year. Then 80,000 more arrived from Afghanistan. Now, an additional 100,000 Ukrainian refugees are expected.

Jewish Family Services (JFS) is working tirelessly to do its share here in Washtenaw County and is requesting OUR help.

To this end, representatives from Beth Israel Congregation, Temple Beth Emeth, the Jewish Cultural Society, the Ann Arbor Reconstructionist Congregation, Pardes Hannah, and the Ann Arbor Orthodox Minyan have come together to form Jewish Congregations Organized for Resettlement (JCOR), whose purpose is to support resettlement of a refugee family. Also, the Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor will provide fiduciary oversight for all funds donated and disbursed in support of this purpose. And now we need YOU!

Volunteers are needed for committees that will work in partnership with JFS staff to help refugee family members reestablish their independent lives here and orient to American culture. With training from JFS staff, we will do this by helping refugees with housing, transportation, and employment; healthcare and financial planning; and childcare, schooling, and adult ESL classes, as necessary. We also need a cadre of on-call volunteers to help with short-notice critical needs, like last-minute transportation or childcare coverage.

Altogether, we are seeking 30 to 50 volunteers who can be available up to three hours per week during the first two months after the family’s arrival. The time commitments will decrease gradually as the family members become more independent during their first year in the United States.

Of course, we need help with fundraising. JFS recommends collecting $7,000 to $20,000 over the course of the family’s first year. Of this, $4,000 should be available upon the family’s arrival to help cover initial costs.

No one congregation will be singularly responsible or individually committed to provide a specific number of volunteers or a specific amount of funding. But we believe that collectively our Jewish Community can make a difference for our new arrivals and help JFS meet its decades-long dedication to resettlement.

Click here to access JCOR’s on-line volunteer sign-up form, where you will find more information about the volunteer committees and choose the one in which your expertise, your experience, and your passion for Tikkun Olam will have the greatest impact.

Additionally, all JCOR volunteers will complete the JFS volunteer form which will facilitate the required background check for all JCOR volunteers. Please complete the JFS form now.

Click here to access the secure Federation/JCOR donation website.

Thank you! The family members we help resettle today will be the grandparents of tomorrow. As a volunteer in this effort, YOU will make a difference to their future generations!

For more information, please contact Linda Jo Doctor at linda.jo.doctor@gmail.com or email JCORAnnArbor@gmail.com

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