UPDATE 2: Beth Emet Co-Sponsors Afghan Refugee Family

The Afghan family that Beth Emet is helping to support through JCFS/HIAS have been settling into their new apartment and new neighborhood. Our biggest realization, as we have spent time with them, is just how massive the learning curve will be as this family works to create a life here.

A relatively simple task, for example, like grocery shopping, became overwhelming when we were forced to use the self-check-out lanes. Suddenly, we were presented with a multitude of new steps: finding the UPC codes to scan, weighing fruits and vegetables, looking up items by code number, and then following steps to check-out. The family speaks almost no English, so following along on the screen is almost impossible without help.

When you multiply this experience by all of the new systems they will likely face each day, you begin to realize just how big of a mountain this family needs to climb.

For this reason, I am very thankful that this family has the support of the Beth Emet community behind them. We have a tremendous corps of volunteers to support mentoring and tutoring activities in the coming months. We can run errands and pick up the supplies they need (a volunteer last week realized the Mom owned no socks!). We can reassure them that they are not tackling this alone.

Yesterday, with the help of a translator, we spoke with the family about how they’re feeling and whether the volunteers are helpful – or, as I had worried a bit, too intrusive. Towards the end of the conversation, the father said, “We stood shoulder to shoulder with the Americans, and now you are standing shoulder to shoulder with us.”

Thank you to the whole Beth Emet community for your support. If you’d like to learn more about getting involved, please contact me.

Alison Finkel