Led by Rabbi Kaiman’s vision as expressed in his sermon on Rosh Hashanah, Shearith Israel will be sponsoring a refugee family in Atlanta in partnership with New American Pathways. This will entail an intensive organizing effort in advance of the family’s arrival and for three to six months afterwards to help the family become oriented to life in the U.S.
Funds for Transportation, Groceries & Miscellaneous Expenses:
Please help provide these necessary expenses today:
To donate to the Refugee Resettlement Project, visit the member portal at the link above. Once logged in, click “Make A Donation” in the left-hand column. Then click on “Refugee Funding” to make a contribution.
Household Items/ Furniture Donations & More:
DONATIONS: Can you donate household items for the refugee family? Please click this link to view a list of the furniture and household items we’ll be collecting and sign up to donate for this great cause!
CAN YOU HELP OUT AT THE LAST MINUTE? Once we receive notice that we have been assigned a family, we may have only a short time to get the apartment and other things ready for their arrival – perhaps just a few days or a week or two. We expect this will be in March. We want to put together a list of people who feel they may be able to make time in their schedule to help out – with little notice. If you’re willing to be included, please send your name, email address, and phone number to Jennifer Hirsch, firstname.lastname@example.org – and we’ll add you to the list and be in touch! Then once we have information, we’ll be in touch as soon as we have notice of the family’s arrival date.
BACKGROUND CHECK FORM: Volunteers who work closely with the refugee family will be required to pass a background check. Please complete the Background Check Form and submit in-person to the Synagogue office.
BOOK DISCUSSION: We want to learn as well as act – and will be holding a CSI Book Discussion on Outcasts United. This book tells the story of the Fugees, a refugee youth soccer team in Clarkston – the same community we’ll be working in now. The book is appropriate for all ages and should be especially interesting to teenagers and adults. Book discussion date is TBD. We encourage congregants and friends to read the book and keep an eye out in Shearith Israel’s weekly newsletter.
To learn more about the refugee community in Clarkston, watch two short video episodes from the PBS series “America By the Numbers”. Visit the PBS site here and select the episodes entitled “Mainstream, USA” and “Politics of the New South”.
PLANNING COMMITTEE: The following congregants will serve as the leaders and point-people for this program. If you’d like to be in touch with the planning committee, please email Sandy Goodman Cohn at email@example.com or Hillary Kates at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For an update on the Planning Committee’s work, click here.
I have lived in Druid Hills since 1983, where I raised 3 children in the Reform tradition at the Temple. Now an empty nester, I joined Shearith Israel 2 years ago and helped to re-establish CSI as a weekly pick-up spot for delicious vegetables from the Riverview Farms CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). I am also on the board of the Decatur Y, where I chair the program committee, and the managing editor of the Druid Hills News. As a former CDC employee and current public health consultant, I am honored to be able to support refugee families get acclimated and settled into our community. (Housing and Record-keeping Committees)
I’m originally from New Jersey, but have lived on and off in Atlanta for 20 years. I have spent my career teaching English as second language in a variety of settings, and currently work as the curriculum coordinator for a family literacy program serving refugee women and children in Clarkston. I have prior experience as a family mentor and co-sponsor for newly arrived families. I live in Kirkwood with my husband, Mike, and our daughters, Ruth and Diana. I’m thrilled that Rabbi Kaiman and the congregation has decided to embark on the very demanding, yet incredibly rewarding, work of refugee resettlement. (Education Committee)
Sandy Goodman Cohn
I moved to Atlanta nearly 2 years ago and live in Decatur, with my husband Marc, and our two children. As a former public health professional, I have always been driven by working with underserved populations and have seen the positive results from hands-on community involvement. My family has had the opportunity to live abroad and while doing so, we gained perspective on how other countries have benefited from an immigrant rich and diverse population. I am excited by this opportunity and look forward to having my family be involved in this important work. (Community Liaison & Reception Committees)
My partner, Craig Stehle, and our son, Zack Stehle Hirsch, moved to Atlanta 2.5 years ago from Chicago for a new job I had at Georgia Tech. I am a cultural anthropologist and I run a sustainable communities program at Tech. I have always been involved in social justice issues, and we had been looking into working with a refugee family in Clarkston. The opportunity to do this important work, while also getting involved in the temple, is perfect! I am honored to be part of the Planning Committee and all three of us look forward to getting to know other congregants. (Reception Committee; Coordinator)
Cindy (my wife) and I have belonged to Shearith Israel almost 30 years, and our children, Amy and Steven, had their bat/bar mitzvah here. We’re very glad to see our synagogue making this commitment to assist a refugee family. As a professor in the Sociology Department at Georgia State University, some of my teaching and research focused on immigrants in the U.S. and now that I’m retired I want to help provide some “hands on” help for a refugee family trying to make Atlanta their new home. (Employment and Transportation Committees)
I was fortunate to grow up in Pensacola, Florida, and attended the same synagogue as Rabbi Kaiman. Two years ago, I moved from NYC to Atlanta to be closer to family. By chance, I reconnected with Rabbi Kaiman and have been coming to CSI ever since. While my professional experience is in corporate taxation, program coordinating and community service have been lifelong passions of mine. Over the years, I have played an active role in the design and implementation of synagogue events and volunteer programs. I am proud of how this community has stepped up to the task, and I am excited to join the congregation in this wonderful project. (Finances Committee; Coordinator)
My husband, Ravi Nessman, and I came to Atlanta with our 2 kids after many years of living in the developing world. I am a human rights lawyer dedicated to trying to make our world better and have been looking for a way to involve my kids in that work. I am grateful to the synagogue for putting together a project that both contributes to the greater good and that allows my kids to participate and explore the joys of thinking beyond ourselves and our community. (Employment & Housing Committees)