Today is February 20th, 2018 -

Temple Sinai

50 Sewall Avenue
Brookline, MA 02446
Phone: (617) 277-5888


Temple Sinai of Brookline MA is sponsoring a Syrian refugee family arriving in the Boston area in the coming months, under the auspices of Jewish Family Services of Metrowest (JFSMW), and we invite you to be involved in this important effort. Below are answers to common questions about the process.

Background: Syrian refugees in the US

In 2016, the US took in 85,000 refugees and, prior to the Trump administration, expected to accept 110,000, including 10-20,000 Syrians.

How are the Syrian refugees selected?

The United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) takes the first step in referring a refugee. The US intensive screening/vetting process involves identity checks and interviews with multiple US security personnel, plus medical evaluations. The process usually takes between 18 months to 2 years. The US then directs the refugee family to one of 9 designated resettlement agencies such as HIAS, the oldest international migration and refugee resettlement organization in the US. Jewish Family Service of Metrowest (JFS) is the only agency in our area that works with HIAS. They have helped resettle hundreds of refugees from multiple countries for many years. Prior to this year they had committed to help 50 Syrian refugees, which is 10-12 families. They are hoping to continue this effort.

How is Temple Sinai organizing this initiative?

We have an organizing team, led by Jill Winitzer ( and Mel Stoler (, under the leadership of Rabbi Vogel. Committee members: Tracie Burns; Tracey Hyams; Deborah Frank; Ian Sklaver; Roberta Falke;
Jodie Kliman; Andrea Richman

How will Temple Sinai help resettle the family?

Prior to the family’s arrival, we must secure an apartment, provide furniture and basic supplies, and subsidize rent and utilities for a year, at an approximate cost of $36,000. In respect for the family’s privacy and autonomy, very few individuals from Temple Sinai will be allowed to meet and support the family directly.

What is the role of JFS?

 JFS assumes full legal responsibility for the families. They will provide Case Management, home visits, health screening, translation, documentation, benefit enrollment, and connections to the Syrian community. They will assist with transportation, shopping and activities, as well as finding schools, jobs, English language learning. JFS will also connect the families to professional medical, psycho-social, and vocational partners, and religious communities. They will provide relevant training and support to Temple Sinai as needed.

What do we know about the family?

JFS receives only minimal information about the family one to two weeks in advance. The information includes the names and ages of family members, and usually the educational levels and previous job(s).

What we don’t know:

When JFS will be able to facilitate their arrival; where they are living now (likely in a refugee camp in Jordan or Lebanon);  what language they speak or whether they speak any English; their religion; their medical needs or degree of trauma.

What can I do?


  • We will raise funds for this cause from our members, friends, and families, by a crowdfunding mechanism. If you are comfortable inviting your friends from outside the congregation to donate, we welcome it. Donations can also be made by check. Please write your checks out to “JFS” and put on the memo line Temple Sinai Brookline Refugee, and then send the checks to Temple Sinai, 50 Sewall Avenue, Brookline MA 02446.
  • We will need help with the Housing Search and Household Set-Up
  • To join a team or to learn about volunteer opportunities, contact Jill or Mel.