Updated: Jul 23, 2021
Dear Kol Ami members and friends,
We have an opportunity. To help save a life. And to impact generations of one family.
We know from our own Jewish history that had righteous individuals not taken mercy on individual Jews during the Holocaust, many of us here today would not exist. We can make big impacts on social change issues through pushing legislation or policy changes. And we can also invest our time and energies in not just issues but as individuals. At Kol Ami. I hope we do both. And that we use our individual time here on earth to band together to make the greatest impact we can make in this world--both on unjust systems and for individuals who need our tzedakah/righteous giving.
We have an opportunity to help a young man, only 20 years old, who walked from Honduras to our nation. He left everything behind, including his family to whom he is very close, to use his own two feet and internal determination to help himself and his family. Once finishing the arduous journey to the US border, Wilfredo found himself in the North West Detention Center. And now, because of the truly righteous work of immigrant rights activists in our community, including the Jewish Coalition for Immigrant Justice, Wilfredo is out of the detention center on bond. He is living with Kol Ami member Stephanie Rose as he awaits his asylum hearing.
Wilfredo has survived gang violence and religious persecution. He is Evangelical in a predominantly Catholic country. He has lived through food insecurity, lack of medical and dental care, and gang terror. He is a truly precious soul who has found his way to our Kol Ami community and now we are presented with the chance of a lifetime to help a single individual in changing the destiny of an entire family line. Wilfredo's number one goal is to work and send money back to Honduras to his food insecure family. He can do this by establishing himself in this country and gaining work and skills to build a life here. And this is where we come in.
WE CAN HELP HIM.
Donations of any amount can be made to my DISCRETIONARY FUND with a note designating the money to Wilfredo. All resources donated will go directly to Wilfredo so that he can build his new life here and send money home to his family.
2. Time and Energy
We are looking for both short-term and long-term volunteers.
Someone makes an 8-session, 4-week plan, and commitment for coaching Wilfredo on how to shop in a grocery store.
Every day, at a designated hour, someone (not always the same person) comes to the house for an hour of conversation.
Every day (or as many times per week as possible), someone comes over to help Wilfredo plan and carry out a short trip on the bus. Wilfredo identifies where he wants to go, finds it, plans the route and they go.
Twice per week, someone comes over to help Wilfredo work on arithmetic and learn how to make change.
Twice per week, someone helps Wilfredo figure out which computer apps would be useful, and how to download and use them.
Someone makes a weekly commitment to help Wilfredo identify local Central American resources and go there.
Someone takes him to the YMCA and negotiates a no-fee or low-fee membership for him.
If you are interested in volunteering once or in an ongoing manner please contact me at Rabbikinberg@gmail.com to set up a time to schedule you.
If you would like to learn more about why young people like Wilfredo are fleeing Honduras please listen to this NPR story here
The work of welcoming and helping the stranger, the refugee amongst us, is central to Judaism. It is part of our religious and spiritual work in this world.No less than 36 times, the Torah commands just treatment of strangers, including the following:
“The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love them as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Leviticus 19:34).
“You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress them, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 22:20).
“You shall have one standard for stranger and citizen alike: for I the LORD am your God” (Leviticus 24:22).
You shall not subvert the rights of the stranger or the fatherless; you shall not take a widow’s garment in pawn (Deuteronomy 24:17)
The most radical thing we can do as a community is to LIVE OUR FAITH. Please consider how you might become involved with Wilfredo and how we can support Stephanie, our fellow congregant, in taking on this huge mitzvah of providing refuge for an asylum seeker.
Many blessings and may your good works always follow you.