Jean Goldstein, long time temple member, has been very touched by the plight of Syrian refugees. Upon Jean's request, Sisterhood combined their celebration of harvest and plenty at Sisters in the Sukkah Monday evening with a collection of funds to go to HIAS, a Jewish agency that stands for a world in which refugees find welcome, safety, and freedom.
Here is Jean's personal story as shared on Sukkot, the evening of September 28th:
As some of you may know, my mother was born in Germany. Her father fought for Germany in the First World War, and she grew up secure in her German nationality, all the while observing Jewish traditions, customs, and worship.
She considered herself German. That was, until Hitler came to power, and radically changed the definition of who could be German, and who was no longer wanted as a citizen of the Reich.
I always thought of my mom and her friends and relatives as “immigrants”, welcomed to the United States. One of the Americans most admired by my mom was F.D.R., whose role vis-a-vis Europe’s Jews was only later to become known. I grew up without ever knowing Flora and Gustav, her parents, and with the story of her voyage to America on the SS Washington part of my own story.
It was only when visiting the English side of my family for the first time, and meeting the first cousins of my American-born dad, that I heard my mom referred to as “the refugee Louis married”. The refugee. Wow - that put all of my previous opinions in a different light. As I continued to think about it, over time, I realized that word was certainly an apt description.
Today we are more comfortable, if that is an appropriate way to say it, with the word “refugee”. We hear it on the news every day. I have been moved to tears by the news stories, photos and videos of children walking from Syria, in search of a country which will admit them, remembering my mother’s parents’ unsuccessful struggles to escape Germany.
I thought that Sisterhood, in the spirit of plenty which we celebrate tonight together in the Sukkah, might also be moved, and would want to reach out in some small way to ease the plight of the Syrian refugees, whose problems will not be solved any time soon.
HIAS, which stood for Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, is a charity recommended by Rabbi Litcofsky, for its good work with Syrian refugees. Your donation today, made through Sisterhood, may be a small drop in the bucket of their need, but a meaningful drop for certain. Thank you.
We hope Jean's story inspires you to consider donating to HIAS. There is a collection box in the temple office.