In winter 2021–2022, Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County invited congregations of all faiths in the Ann Arbor area to participate in their new refugee settlement co-sponsorship program.
In response, Beth Israel Congregation and Temple Beth Emeth, assisted by the deft leadership of our founding coordinator Harvey Somers, formed a collaboration which soon expanded to Jewish Congregations Organized for Resettlement (JCOR), comprised of six member organizations: Ann Arbor Orthodox Minyan, Ann Arbor Reconstructionist Congregation, Jewish Cultural Society, and Pardes Hannah along with BIC and TBE. The Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor serves as JCOR’s fiduciary.
JCOR works in partnership with JFS, which provides orientation and training and guidance to JCOR volunteers who work under the supervision of a JFS caseworker.
In August 2022, JCOR accepted responsibility to co-sponsor its first family of four from Colombia.
JCOR’s first refugee family arrived in Ann Arbor following an arduous journey from their home in Colombia in August 2022. In less than 12 months, both parents were fully employed, both teenagers had completed their first year of school in the U.S. in good form, and big sister had a summer job. The father earned a driver’s license, and the family purchased a (used) car which saves $700/month that previously paid for contracted transportation to and from work.
JCOR anticipates welcoming its second refugee family in Fall 2023. To make this possible, JCOR must raise approximately $20,000 to underwrite its co-sponsorship obligations. Generous donors made it possible for JCOR to help the current family. Our incoming refugee family needs that same help now.
As individuals and as congregations we all can help support the aspirations of our next family. Please consider adding JCOR to your synagogue and household charitable-giving allocations. Contact JCOR if you have or know of affordable housing that will be available by mid-fall 2023; or if you or someone you know can communicate in Spanish or French, Tigrinya or Kituba, Farsi or Dari, Arabic, or Ukrainian.