Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Bringing a family to safety

Fulbright scholar Rasha Elendari came to the US from Syria seven years ago to study archeology. She planned to return home to Syria to participate in an archeological dig that summer but escalating violence in her homeland made that trip impossible. Missing her family, Elendari stayed in the US to finish her degree, then moved to Toronto for graduate school.

Meanwhile, Syria's war and the Elendari family's situation went from bad to worse. They had stayed in Syria to fight the devastation caused by the Assad regime and provide humanitarian support.

Educated professionals, Elendari's parents, two sisters, and two brothers-in-law volunteered in community programs in their home region in Syria to help war widows and orphans. Two years ago, their own safety and that of their toddler-age children was threatened. They fled to Turkey.

After making contact with the Canadian officials there, the Elendari family was contacted by Jewish Immigration Aid Services (JIAS) of Toronto. JIAS was coordinating the efforts of three Toronto-area sponsors who offered help: Supper with Syria, Temple Har Zion, and Imam Mahdi Islamic Centre. The Temple and the Mosque share a parking lot, and had agreed some time before to sponsor a family's immigration. The Elendari family was the perfect choice for their combined financial and logistical support.

So the plan is in place for the family to arrive from Turkey next week. Details on housing are sketchy, but a job awaits Elendari's pharmacist brother-in-law.

What a great start to the new year - a family reunited in safety.

No comments:

Post a Comment