our story

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 Family Is in Their Home, Their Boys Are in School, & JCC Soon Will Vibrate to the Rhythms of Klezmer at JCOR's 2nd Annual Fundraiser

Klezmer will rock the halls at JCC on Sunday, April 7, when three of Ann Arbor’s best klezmer bands unite to share The Joys of Klezmer. Schmaltz, Klezmer R&D, and Neil Alexander and the Klezmer Fusion Band will promote foot-tapping and some dancing, too, 4–6pm, and followed by a bountiful array of complementary nosh—all to benefit the all-volunteer services of JCOR.

JCOR’s third refugee family–a Syrian family of five–moved from temporary lodgings to permanent affordable housing on February 25. With a permanent address, the three boys (14, 10, and 8 years old) began classes in the AAPS system less than a week after move-in, and the eldest signed up for extracurriculars on his first day. Relieved that their boys feel welcome and supported in their new schools, Mom and Dad are redoubling their focus on learning English which will facilitate their job search.

The family’s pleasantly bright little apartment is nicely furnished through donations procured by JCOR volunteers, and the cupboards and fridge are well-stocked for the celebratory needs of Ramadan. All three boys have resolved to fast for the month, and their schools have already put in place ways to help them keep their resolve during the school day.

In addition to arranging transport to and from medical appointments, grocery shopping trips, and other necessary errands for which a bus cannot suffice, JCOR volunteers are helping with the family travel to and from the mosque as needed through the month-long holiday.