Think back to how our parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents must have felt arriving on the shores of America after having made the long journey … and then read below regarding the many ways (some very small) that you can help these new Americans feel at home here in the Palm Beaches.

Because we were strangers in the land of Egypt …and now we are free. Jewish refugee children arriving in America in 1939.

Jewish refugee children arriving in America in 1939.


Here is an update regarding Temple Israel’s Refugee Initiative:

After our initial meeting with Church World Service (CWS), it is apparent that we can best serve by creating 3 teams or areas of focus, each with a different level of commitment over time.  Here is a basic delineation of the ways Temple Israel can help:

Option One:  Furnish a Home

Temple Israel will be spearheading the collection of household items so that when the refugee family we “adopt” arrives, it will be as comfortable as possible.  We will need to collect beds, dressers, a couch, lamps, bedding, towels, cutlery, dishes, pots and pans, waste baskets, mop/broom/cleaning supplies, etc.

Below is a link to an online “registry” so we don’t duplicate our efforts, and can arrange for assistance with transporting any large donations (i.e., furniture) to bring them to CWS’ storage area. The actual setting up on an apartment typically takes place on a weekday between 10am and 4pm but collecting items can be done at your leisure.



Option Two:   Welcome and Cultural Orientation

This level of involvement requires a police clearance (which costs about $5), and which can be obtained at the Sheriff’s Office on Gun Club Road or through your local police department.   Volunteers on this team would visit the family at their new home to welcome them and answer any questions.  In addition, we would like volunteers in this group to help orient the refugee family by: visiting a supermarket or bank with them and teaching how to maneuver there; discussing how to dress for a job interview would be appropriate; transportation to medical appointments would be a tremendous help, as would assistance with educational issues.  TI members committing to this option would check in once a month with the family.

The forms you need to complete in order to participate in this option are on the right.


Option Three:  Special Projects

Our congregation, school, Youth Group, Sisterhood, Brotherhood, Bnai Mitzvah may wish to consider one-time involvement with CWS in one of the following ways:

  • Collecting/creating hygiene kits or cleaning buckets for newly arrived families
  • Sponsoring or volunteering at one of CWS’s events which include World Refugee Day in June, back to school pizza party in July, Thanksgiving celebration in November (WPB Housing Authority is happy to let it go if TI would like to take this on instead), the “Restoring Dignity” Charity Event in December, and holiday toy drive in December
  • Raise funds for local programs
  • Assist with job development: Help one refugee find full-time employment in our community.
Whatever you choose to do, we appreciate your efforts!
Please note that CWS would like us to track our time regardless of our chosen activities (we will provide you a Volunteer Tracking Sheet to do this). 
Thank you for your patience and welcome to this opportunity to serve!  Once we have a few committed individuals (especially for Option 2 above, which will require paperwork which we will provide), we will gear up to assist our partner refugee family.
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