Tablet Magazine has an excellent article by Philip Moscovitch on the recent efforts by Canadian-Jewish congregations to sponsor and support Syrian refugee families to resettle in Canada. From Vancouver to Alberta, Toronto and Montreal, and many smaller towns and cities, more than two dozen congregations have raised funds and committed to sponsoring Syrian families under Canada’s Private Sponsorship Program.
With no similar program in place in the USA, Jewish congregations in the USA with a desire to assist Syrian refugees, such as the Community Synagogue of Rye, New York, have contributed to the efforts of their Canadian counterparts with huge monetary donations.
The understandable apprehension and ambivalence of many in the Canadian Jewish community to bringing in families from a region whose people have traditionally been hostile to Jews is acknowledged in the article. As one Temple Sholom said; “I don’t hate Muslims, but I am afraid.”
Which makes the efforts by Canada’s Jewish communities to assist Syrians all the more remarkable. The highest expression of humanity is to help a stranger when every survival instinct tells one not to, to take responsibility for a family who may have spent their lives in an environment with values in stark contrast to your own, to give so much effort, time and money on a people who have nothing to offer back except their thanks. The generous sentiments of Jewish communities, in Canada and around the world towards Syrian refugees is not only remarkable, it is miraculous.
To read the original Tablet Magazine article, click here.