JCARR was established in 2015 by five area synagogues and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven who came together to welcome, support, and rescue refugee families new to our area. The synagogues - Congregation Beth-El-Keser Israel (BEKI), Congregation B’nai Jacob, Congregation Mishkan Israel, Congregation Or Shalom, and Temple Emanuel of Greater New Haven - all have a history of individually sponsoring refugee families, dating back to the 1980s. They saw the need to reinvigorate those efforts in light of the recent refugee crises worldwide.
In January 2019, JCARR came under the umbrella of Federation and on January 29, JCARR welcomed a fourth family as a co-sponsor for IRIS (Integrated Refugee and Immigration Services).
In the interest of their security, we identify them by their initials: IBK, age 74, and MLM, age 66, are from Iraq. Before coming to the U.S., they lived in Jordan, where they were friends with a young man, Asaad.
Asaad settled in New Haven four year ago, and he was among a small group who welcomed IBK and MLM when they arrived here on a cold night of pouring rain. But the warmth of the embrace between Asaad and IBK and the tears that flowed from their eyes as they hugged each other with joy overcame the miserable weather.
When we went to say goodbye after settling them into their apartment that evening, IBK was weeping, and he hugged us warmly. His tears were contagious, and we look forward to working together with our new family as they build a new life in our community.
JCARR’s two Syrian families quickly befriended the couple and are active among the JCARR volunteers helping them learn how to function in our community.
“It is such a pleasure to share in the mission of Tikkun Olam with JCARR’s passionate supporters and volunteers. The refugees’ stories are similar to those of the Jewish people: We have faced violence and persecution throughout history and across the globe. It is therefore our privilege and duty as a Jewish community to welcome the stranger and save lives,” said Judy Alperin, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven. “The work that JCARR does is holy.” said Alperin.
“Our strengthened partnership with the Federation is already benefiting JCARR through expanded publicity and marketing, fundraising and financial management,” said Jean Silk, JCARR Coordinator. “Coming together was a very natural move, and we look forward to continuing to welcome new families and helping them build a new life in our community.”
“I am so excited to finally be back to this crucial work of supporting first steps of the refugees in our country,” said Rabbi Michael Farbman of Temple Emanuel of Greater New Haven.
Financial donations are greatly needed to sustain the work of JCARR. You can send checks, payable to The Jewish Federation with JCARR in the memo line, to The Jewish Federation, 360 Amity Road, Woodbridge, 06525; Attention: Amy Holtz. An online option for contributions to JCARR is being developed. isit jewishnewhaven.org/JCARR for more details.