As 2022 draws to a close, JCARR wishes you all a happy, healthy new year. May it be a year filled with loving relationships, joy, peace, and good health. There is much to reflect on and be grateful for.
Here are a few things we’re grateful for. Milestone celebrations, new beginnings, just being kids, and continuity.
Family number 7 recently celebrated Laila’s birthday.
Birthdays are special!
Our Ukrainian family is closer to being together and settled in their new home. They’ve had a challenging year and look forward to being together and living in a stable environment. A lease was signed and furniture moved in. JCARR will be supplying more basics soon. Dad is already living there and awaiting his wife and daughters. We look forward to meeting them soon.
JUST BEING KIDS!
The girls from family 5 enjoyed a day of cookie baking. And probably some eating!
VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT - CONTINUITY
AS JCARR is celebrating its seventh anniversary this month, it is fitting to shine the spotlight on Jean Silk, whose name is nearly synonymous with JCARR.
JCARR, formed in 2015, is the Jewish community’s response to the ongoing refugee crisis. Jean became the first coordinator. With a Master’s degree in International Administration and relevant work experience, Jean’s background was perfect for the Coordinator role. Her cross-cultural relationship skills helped with direct work with families, her administrative savvy helped build JCARR, and her willingness to take on new challenges led to advocacy work.
Drawing upon her strengths and skills, Jean successfully navigated the past seven years: years she describes as the most challenging and rewarding of her life. Jean’s vision for JCARR gained maturity. Initially, she thought, “We were going to help some refugees. I had no idea what a life-changing experience it would become. Refugee resettlement is not romantic. It is tough work, even traumatic at times.” With one hundred million displaced persons worldwide, the immensity of the need can feel overwhelming. Refugees/immigrants don’t leave because they want to; they leave because they have to – to survive.” Jean greatly appreciates the resilience of so many displaced persons worldwide.
JCARR resettled seven families from different countries, cultures, languages, and religions in seven years. Helping one family at a time is a step towards addressing the global situation and reflects the Jewish belief that saving one person is like saving the world.
In addition to direct work, Jean has taken on an advocacy role. Jean says, “I would never have imagined giving a speech at a senator’s press conference! But, when you believe in the cause, you’ll do things you never pictured yourself doing.”
If the challenges are significant, so are the rewards. Jean is rewarded by “…seeing smiles on the faces of parents and children as they learn English, get jobs, earn a degree, gain independence from JCARR, and become US citizens.” The satisfaction is derived not only by empowering the families to achieve these milestones but also by learning from them and forming solid bonds of friendship.
In addition to Jean’s direct work with the families, she has worked tirelessly to build JCARR as an organization. Jean attracts talented, dedicated individuals passionate about the work of resettling refugees. She helps people find their place in the organization, contributing according to their skills and interest, adding to the overall strength and success of JCARR. Jean describes her role as an orchestra leader; without talented musicians, the music would not be as beautiful. Jean finds joy in her friendships with others who work with JCARR, describing it as “ … very gratifying to work with others who live their Judaism through Gemilut Chassadim - bestowing loving kindness.
Rabbi Farbman of Temple Emanuel says, “Jean is a remarkable community builder. Jeans’ expertise and commitment to this project have enabled the incredible success JCARR has enjoyed - bringing multiple synagogues and the Federation together took much - more than just goodwill! Jean’s attention to detail and ability to bring people together has transformed this project from a good idea to an inspiring example of how much we can achieve when we work together as a wider community.
As JCARR looks to the future, JCARR is fortunate that Jean is continuing as External Coordinator, primarily responsible for JCARR’s relationships with IRIS, the Jewish Federation, the synagogues, and the wider community. Susan Kerley is serving as JCARR’s Internal Coordinator. She is responsible for overseeing the work of and communications between the Task Forces and Family Partners, providing direct services to JCARR’s families. With this new structure, JCARR is well-positioned to will continue its mission of resettling refugee families. As Jean would say, “ever onward.”
Your contributions sustain the work JCARR is doing.
To make a donation to JCARR go online to https://jewishnewhaven.org/refugee-resettlement/give. Or send checks, payable to The Jewish Federation, with JCARR in the memo line, to The Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, 360 Amity Road, Woodbridge, 06525. We greatly appreciate your support!