Westmount synagogue to sponsor a refugee family from Syria

A Montreal synagogue's plan to sponsor a refugee family from Syria has been warmly welcomed by the congregation.

Congregation member had family live through similar experience

The Emanu-El-Beth Sholom synagogue in Westmount wants to sponsor a Syrian refugee family. (CBC)

A Montreal synagogue's plan to sponsor a refugee family from Syria has been warmly welcomed by the congregation.

Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom in Westmount wants to raise a $30,000 guarantee to show the federal government it can support the family for at least a year.

"It's mind boggling in terms of the reaction, and how quickly people responded and how passionate they are about helping," executive director Shellie Ettinger said.

It was a member of the congregation that came up with the idea because he had a family member live through a similar experience, Ettinger said.

Moved by images from Europe

The images coming out of the crisis — particularly the photo of the Syrian boy who washed up on a Turkish beach — has moved the members to action, he said.

"Were all seeing the headlines, were all hearing about this real crisis," senior rabbi Lisa Grushcow added.

Shellie Ettinger, executive director of Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom. (CBC)

Grushcow says her synagogue has started the process of raising funds and finding a family. The family's religious background won't matter, she says.

"When we've been refugees at different times, did we want people closing doors in our face? Absolutely not," she said.

Once the family arrives, there will be plenty of work for the community to do, Grushcow said. "Anything from meeting them at the airport, to helping them find housing, helping them find schools if there are kids, and helping them learn French."


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