Supporting Refugees

by Rabbi Audrey Pollack, November 3, 2015

Dear Fellow Solelniks,
At this time in history there are 60 million people in the world who are refugees, those displaced because of conflict or persecution. This is a global refugee population that is larger than at any time since World War II. Eleven million are Syrians who have fled their homes because of war: 7 million are displaced within Syria and over 4 million are refugees.
Our Jewish tradition compels us to care for the widow, the orphan, the poor and the stranger. No less than 36 times in the Torah we are commanded to love the stranger, to welcome the stranger, to protect the stranger. This commandment reminds us of our own story where from biblical times to the Jews of the Soviet Union and Ethiopia, time and again we have had to flee our homes in search of safety from violence and persecution. We have a responsibility to respond to this crisis.
The Canadian government has committed to resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees with the sponsorship of individuals and community groups. Solel is forming an interfaith partnership with other congregations in Mississauga to undertake the sponsorship of at least one refugee family. We already have a list of Solelniks who are committing to working on this project.
We are pleased to announce that an anonymous donor has stepped forward to commit $10,000 to the Solel sponsorship contingent on matching funds. We will need to raise at least $30,000 among our interfaith group of congregations to resettle one refugee family. Solel will begin accepting donations to a Canada Helps fund set up for this purpose.
This will not be a small project. We will be responsible not only for raising enough money to show the Canadian government that we can support the sponsorship of a family; our interfaith working group will also be responsible for everything including meeting them at the airport, finding them a place to live, and finding furniture and beds and supplies for daily life, and accompanying them to buy their first groceries and household items. We will need to assist them with administrative matters such as obtaining FHP and SIN numbers, and opening bank accounts. And most critical of all, we must ensure that to the extent possible they hit the ground running by finding work, enrolling children in schools and learning about Canadian culture.
We can make a difference. The humanitarian need is great, and we have the opportunity to make a difference for one or more Syrian refugee families. Our tradition teaches kol ham’kayeim nefesh achat k’ilu kayeim olam – “if you save a single life, you have saved an entire world” (Talmud Sanhedrin 37a).
An account has been set up called the “Mississauga Interfaith Refugee Resettlement Fund” under “Solel Congregation of Mississauga” at
Donors can access this fund by going to under “Get Started: Find a Charity” type in Solel Congregation of Mississauga, click search.
Click on “Solel Congregation of Mississauga (in red type) then click on red “Donate Now” box and follow instructions
Scroll down and choose the “Mississauga Interfaith Refugee Resettlement Fund” in the drop down box to donate.
Follow the steps to complete the donation.
If you would like to add your name to the list and be part of the effort, please contact Deb Stoch through the Solel office.
Our first open meeting will be in November — TBA
Rabbi Audrey S. Pollack

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