Today is April 23, 2017 -

Welcoming the Stranger

“You shall love the stranger, for you were once strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 10: 19)

Click here to donate to our Welcoming the Stranger Campaign

Click here to see the front page Washington Post article featuring the amazing work being done by Beth El and Lutheran Family Services.

Update – December 12, 2016

Thanks to the hard work, dedication and passion of our Beth El members, the Syrian family of seven that we have sponsored has settled in and starting a rather quick transition to life in Omaha. In partnership with Lutheran Family Services and the International Center of the Heartland, the family will begin to take over their day-to day responsibilities. While we will remain committed to our support of the family and continuing the work that we have been in engaged in, there does come a time when the family needs to begin to take on more responsibility for their future. Beth El’s commitment over the first 90 days has been exemplary and we should all take pride in what we have achieved for this family. We will continue to provide a mentoring role going forward and expect to strengthen and grow our relationship with the family.

The overwhelming response from the Congregation has resulted in a significant amount of furniture and furnishings that remained after furnishing a 3-room town-home for the Syrian family. As a result, we have identified another Syrian family of four who will be arriving in Omaha within the next two weeks. We will again be partnering with Lutheran Family Services to provide these furnishings to this family. Our role for this family will be strictly limited to providing the furniture and furnishings.

In an effort to carry on with the Welcoming the Stranger program, we would like to introduce to the congregation a new opportunity to get involved.  There is a Careers and Connections mentoring program that is operated through Lutheran Family Services.  The objective of this program is to support long term career advancement for new Americans.  Specifically, this program is for people who were refugees and currently speak English and pair them with mentors.  The mentor acts as a career coach and assists in identifying and enhancing career development goals and assists in networking.   As part of this initiative we will welcome Feroz Mohmand, Career Counselor at LFS who recently resettled from Afghanistan to Beth El Synagogue on Saturday, January 14, 2017 to speak at a luncheon following Shabbat services.   Lunch will be sponsored by Rabbi and Shira Abraham. You can read a bit more about Feroz in this OWH article. We also plan to extend the programming with two additional Shabbat lunches, January 28 and February 11. 

January 28 Lunch – Our featured speaker will be an asylum seeker from Syria. She will describe her journey to the United States, fleeing persecution and ending up in Omaha. Today’s lunch is sponsored by an anonymous donor.

February 11 Lunch – Today we will hear from Lacey Studnicka and Beth Katz. Lacey is the Program Development Officer overseeing the Refugee Reception and Placement program for Lutheran Family Services. Beth is the former director of Project Interfaith. Their topic will be on the state of immigration and the impact of today’s political climate. Today’s lunch is sponsored by Allan and Janie Murow.

Additionally, we do anticipate sponsoring another family within the first few months of the New Year. With the influx of immigrants coming to the US, 30 people just this week, it is imperative that we keep our program moving forward. We will be reaching out to you again with more information on how you can get involved as we welcome another family.

Thank you all for your support,

Rabbi Steven Abraham & Allan Murow (Chair of Welcoming the Stranger)