During the High Holy Days, the Kehilla community focused on the theme of immigrants and refugees and heard inspiring words from our spiritual leaders and congregants about our duty to welcome and love those newly arrived in our midst. The Immigration Committee hopes to provide our community with tangible ways to support immigrants and refugees in the Bay Area. To this end, the committee has planned a series of events and workshops (see Kol Kehilla and your weekly emails for details) and has posted a detailed resource list on the Kehilla website http://kehillasynagogue.org/immigration-committee/. We will continue to keep the community updated on actions, events and resources related to assisting immigrants.
One of the biggest challenges for immigrants and refugees when arriving in the Bay Area is finding housing. There is an urgent need for both long and short-term living spaces for individuals and families. Kehilla has connections with three organizations that assist in providing housing for these newcomers. Please read the information about the organizations below, and contact them directly if you can help out by sharing space in your home or are able to donate to these groups.
Jewish Family and Community Services East Bay
JFCS East Bay has the only fully dedicated program in the US for the resettlement of LGBTI refugees who have fled their home countries because of persecution. The majority of these refugees come from Africa or the Middle East. Since LGBTI refugees frequently do not have contact with family or community, they may arrive here alone with many needs. JFCS East Bay is looking for hosts to provide shelter for these refugees as they build a new life in our community. Hosts supply a refugee with a bedroom and a shared or private bath for at least three months. JFCS East Bay provides a case manager, support services and volunteers to support the resettlement process and contributes a small amount per month for rent and household expenses.
If you are interested, please contact Wade Meyer at email@example.com or 925.927.2000 ext.624
Nueva Esperanza: Housing Hospitality for Families or Youth Fleeing Violence and Extreme Poverty
Nueva Esperanza is a collaborative initiative of individuals, faith communities and partner organizations seeking to respond to the needs of recently arrived minors and families, mainly from Central America, who require support, housing and resources. Nueva Esperanza is looking for temporary living space for a few days up to 12 months, while stable, affordable housing is sought. Accompaniment teams of community and congregational volunteers support both the new immigrants and those providing housing.
Nueva Esperanza, along with other faith groups, has also recently rented a house in the Fruitvale area, called Casa Nueva Esperanza, which has space for several immigrant families and a community room for ESL classes and other programs. An accompaniment team made up of Kehilla members works with one of the families that currently lives in the house.
If you can provide housing or would like to support Casa Nueva Esperanza contact Reverend Deborah Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 297-8222.
Refugee Foster Care Program at Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County
Created due to a growing need to serve unaccompanied refugee minors, Refugee Foster Care (RFC) at Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County finds safe and caring homes for children who have lost their parents, siblings and country. The RFC program is the only program in Northern California, and one of twenty in the United States, that provides resettlement and foster care services to unaccompanied refugee minors. Since 2004, it has served more than 140 refugee children hailing from nations including Eritrea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Nepal. For those inclined to support unaccompanied refugee children, the RFC program is always looking for long-term and short-term foster parents or homes to host semi-independent youth.
For more information, please visit the program’s webpage http://www.catholiccharitiesscc.org/refugee-foster-care or contact Francis Bencik at (408) 325-5273.