Refugee Assistant Group Update 3/21/20

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We have reached out to the refugee families that we have been assisting during the past three years to find out how they are faring in the coronavirus crisis. Many have had severe setbacks to what had previously been a slow but steady assimilation to their new lives in the United States.  A number of the men who had jobs as drivers have lost those jobs; one who had a steady job for three years delivering for a restaurant was let go because he had a seasonal cough.  Some of the schoolchildren who had depended on the schools for breakfast are now going without that meal.
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Refugee Assistant Group Update 10/31/19

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Hayan and Rabbi Greenstein

Here are two exciting developments —

  1. We are teaming up with two wonderful organizations — Laptop UpCycle and the Westfield Fun Club — to bring recycled laptops to 10 refugee children in Elizabeth.  Laptop UpCycle is a Montclair group that is “committed to obtaining, refreshing, and distributing technology to students who need the tools to succeed in school” and has already delivered over 400 laptops to needy students in Montclair.  We have introduced Laptop UpCycle to the refugee families through the Fun Club, which runs a Saturday morning program at Temple Emanu-El in Westfield for refugee families in Elizabeth.  The Fun Club program includes ESL, job training, resume building, IEP assistance, citizenship test prep, and more for adults, and homework help, arts and crafts, music, karate, acting, games, lego, SAT prep, college application assistance, and more for the children and teens.  Laptop UpCycle will be delivering the laptops to the 10 students at a Fun Club session in mid-November.

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MESH Report Sept 17, 2019

MESH cafe logoFrom Captain Lynne Kurzweil:

This past Tuesday on a balmy late summer eve, we welcomed 24 grateful guests to the Carol Starr MESH Cafe at Shomrei. We provided one takeaway meal and accommodated one vegetarian. Chef Stuart Green whipped up a hearty and delicious feast starting with homemade guacamole, baby carrots and tortilla chips. A green salad with Italian dressing preceded the main course of turkey chili served over rice with a side of yummy sautéed baby peppers. Guests mopped up the gravy with toasty Italian bread. Continue reading

Two Ways to Help Local Refugees

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From Andy Silver:

We are organizing a Back-to-School Supplies Drive for the children in the refugee families whom we have been assisting. We need your help!

There are currently 18 school-age children, ranging in age from 4 to 16, in six of “our” families. The families have very little discretionary income to spend on school supplies; our goal is to help enable the children to have what they need to start the school year successfully.

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The Wednesday Night Monthly Minyan??

Andy and I would like to express our gratitude to everyone who has supported THE LITTLE MINYAN THAT COULD all year, and in years past.?? We all lead such busy and complicated lives, but when we make the effort to support someone saying Kaddish, or to simply support our community, our lives are elevated just a little bit. I know the word “mitzvah” means a  commandment; I’d like to suggest we add a feeling of elevation or being uplifted to the definition.

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Refugee Assistance Group Update — October 25, 2018

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We will be visiting the refugee families in Elizabeth on Monday and would like to bring them as many needed items as possible at that time.  We’ve compiled the requested items on the following list: http://signup.com/go/PGuRfLE.  If you can possibly donate any items, please sign up online and drop off the items in the box in Shomrei’s lobby by October 28 if you possibly can.

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Syrian Refugees Visit Shomrei and Our House on Rosh Hashanah

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My mother used to tell me, “You can only be at one place at a time.” When my kids were little, I would give them the same advice. As much as they wanted to, they could not play soccer, go to a birthday party or have a play date at the same moment.

I thought of this on the first day of Rosh Hashanah services. Shomrei offered such an array of options that I had a hard time to choosing one. Lucky for me, I chose the “teen” discussion group led by Andy Silver, with a panel of Syrian refugees and aided by a translator.

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The Little Minyan That Could

“The Little Minyan That Could” is celebrating its tenth anniversary this November.  It started when my father, Mike Leventer, passed away and I wanted to say kaddish in the  comfort of my own home with the support of the Shomrei community.  Never did I imagine that ten years later, we would still be meeting in our living-room, davening Maariv through the seasons and sharing life’s experiences with  each other on the first Wednesday of each month.

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Shomrei Assisting a Sixth Family

Shomrei Refugee Assistance Group, August 10 Update

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Here are the important announcements for this week:

We are excited to announce that we are now assisting a sixth family in Elizabeth!  Our summer camp fundraising resulted in 8 children attending two-week sessions at the YMCAs in Wayne and Elizabeth. We are collecting school supplies for the families we are assisting. On Sept 30, we will be hosting a luncheon in the Sukkah catered by Syrian refugee families.

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Summer Camp Fundraiser a Huge Success!

Shomrei Refugee Assistance Group, July 31 Update
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We have a number of important items this week:

  • Our fundraising to help send local refugee children to summer day camp has been a major success!  Including the very generous matching grant provided by one of our member-families, we have raised a total of $2,866 so far.  The funds are being used to send seven children from two families in Paterson to the Wayne Y and to send one child from the families that we are supporting in Elizabeth to the Y camp in Union.  All of the children will be enjoying two weeks of day camp thanks to our group’s fundraising efforts.  (See photos of Kresten, below, waiting for her first day of camp to start yesterday.)  Any funds in excess of those needed for camp will be used for the general welfare of the refugee families.

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