Refugee Volunteer Meeting

April 2017

Dear Kol Shalom Community,

We are pleased to introduce our new effort to assist the refugee community here in the Capitol region.  The number of refugees worldwide is now at post-World War II levels, as conflicts and climate change across the globe have spread.  With this in mind, and because of the wonderful turnout at our initial meeting in February, Kol Shalom has accepted the responsibility to do our part to integrate a family who has recently arrived in Maryland.

We are partnering with the Montgomery County Interfaith Refugee Resettlement Neighbors (MCIRRN) and the Islamic Center of Maryland (ICM) in Gaithersburg to support a Kurdish family from Syria who arrived here in December, 2016.  They are a family of four - a mother, father and two sons.

They are truly strangers in a strange land - our land.  Our commitment is to help them adapt to our culture and society.  As we prepare for Pesach, their story certainly resonates with ours.

Spearheading this effort at Kol Shalom are two volunteers: Robyn Lieberman and Aki Peritz.  Robyn has worked in human rights and refugee protection since the Soviet Jewry movement and Aki has a background in counterterrorism, think tanks, and reality television (really!).  Ruth Szykman will be assisting with this project.  So many of you have expressed an interested in helping - and now is the time to hear from you. 

Of course, there are so many social, cultural and logistical issues that we all need to understand when working with refugees.  We will also be coordinating our activities with other MCIRRN communities so we need to be sure everyone is well informed.

To that end, if you'd like to a part of this meaningful effort, there will be an initial workshop, mandatory for all volunteers, on Sunday, May 7th at 10am.  If you can attend, please email Ruth to RSVP.

Aki and Robyn will continue to keep us all informed as we progress.  Thank you in advance for your support of this effort.


Julie Maltzman and Debbie Ross

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