Montreal

Hampstead synagogue sponsoring 2 Syrian families raises more than $90K

Members of a Montreal synagogue have come together to raise money to privately sponsor two refugee families from Syria.

Montreal congregation wants to help families find a new home as Canada gears up to accept refugees

About 150 members of the congregation have donated thousands to help sponsor two families. (Bahador Zabihiyan/Radio-Canada)

Members of a Montreal synagogue have come together to raise money to privately sponsor two refugee families from Syria.

Congregation Dorshei Emet, a synagogue in Hampstead, formed a committee to oversee bringing over Syrian refugees. 

"It's not a religious decision," said Martin Boodman, who heads the committee. "It was really a question of humanitarian aid."

The synagogue must prove to Immigration Canada that it has the financial means to help resettle Syrian refugees.

"In a little over a month, we had contributions that came to a total of over $90,000 from about 150 people," said Boodman.

The two families already have relatives living in Montreal. 

"I think it will be emotional because I think otherwise it would be impossible for them to be with their loved ones," Boodman said.

The committee plans to help the families integrate into life in Montreal. It could take months for their files to be approved by Ottawa, but the synagogue is ready to help the families find homes, enrol in school and learn English and French.

"I think that this will be something that leaves an impact on the Syrian community," said Faisal Alazem from the Syrian Kids Foundation who helped the committee. "The best way to promote peace in the Middle East is really through these kinds of humanitarian gestures."

The federal government is expected to announce its plan on Tuesday to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees by year's end.

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