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Welcoming Maria & Carlos into our Havurah FamilyThe next step in our journey as a Sanctuary Congregation

Welcome, Maria and Carlos!“Welcome the Stranger” is the Torah’s call to action. This week we will begin our response as we welcome Maria and Carlos into our Havurah family. The Havurah Sanctuary Committee has been working for several months on an initiative to sponsor a Guatemalan mother and 16-year-old son seeking asylum in the US. ICE has finally granted them permission to relocate from New Mexico to Portland, where asylum case outcomes are much more favorable. 

In 2016, Havurah became a Sanctuary Congregation. In the past four years, we have been exploring more deeply the meaning of Sanctuary. With the help of IMIrJ (Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice) we have learned about sanctuary as a response, as a strategy, as a vision, and as a moral imperative. For our congregation, this has meant building relationships, showing up, bearing witness, accompanying when asked, raising our voices, and contacting our legislators. Sponsoring Maria and Carlos is the next step in this journey. In March, Steering approved Havurah taking on this opportunity and responsibility. 

There is a fundamental brokenness to our asylum system that leaves the most vulnerable even more vulnerable with little-to-no access to our legal, medical or financial systems. We will be part of Maria and Carlos’ extended community, helping them navigate the daunting challenges involved in building a new life in this country. 

To date, the Sanctuary Committee has organized housing, pro bono legal representation and medical care. As Maria and Carlos settle into their new home there will be many ways that Havurah members can support them with specific needs such as translation (Spanish), educational support and transportation. If you are interested in finding out how you can help, please contact Kathy Gordon or Debbi Nadell. 

Additionally, several Havurah members have pledged ongoing monthly contributions to help financially support the family. If you are able, we hope you will help out with a one-time or monthly contribution.

Maria and Carlos arrived in Portland on Monday, April 27, and are quarantining for two weeks before they move into the home of a Havurah family. When we can gather again, we look forward to being able to formally welcome Maria and Carlos into our Havurah Community.

In Gratitude,

Kathy Gordon, Bob Brown & Shari Raider (tri-chairs Havurah Sanctuary Committee)

Sat, October 31 2020 13 Cheshvan 5781