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Welcoming  a Refugee Family to Chicago


Har Zion is partnering with HIAS Immigration & Citizenship (HIAS) to cosponsor a Syrian refugee family of five who is settling in Chicago. The family is currently in Oman and previously lived in Saudi Arabia after they fled Syria. They are arrived in Chicago on Tuesday, June 13! 



Har Zion’s co-sponsorship of a Syrian refugee family has been progressing well. The family moved into their apartment on June 13 with the help of Suzanne Fournier and John Dempsey. The apartment has been fitted out with the household items donated by the Haz Zion Family. Thank you to everyone who has contributed items to setting up their apartment (many of you have stepped up!). There are a few odds and ends still needed (click here) but we had enough to give them a great start. 

We have now raised almost $7000 toward our $10,000 goal. To those of you who have contributed – thank you!  It is not too late to make a contribution. Please
 click here to donate if you can.

We have begun mentoring the family. Some representatives from our group have visited each week for 2-3 hours. The family members are learning English and exploring Rogers Park. We are also supplementing their food supplies while we wait for their SNAP benefits to begin. Please contact John Dempsey if you are interested in helping with groceries.

click here to reach the application form if you would like to be a mentor.

Specify on the form that you want to co-sponsor for Team Har Zion.
If you have questions, please contact John Dempsey at 312-925-8127
or if you would like to help or have questions.


How you can help:

While HIAS finds an apartment for the family, we need to gather household items to outfit the apartment. We have put together a gift registry on where you can purchase the household goods the family needs by June 16. If you have gently used items you would like to contribute, please drop them by the Har Zion office and also please us know at so we can delete it from the registry. (Please note that HAIS requests that some items be new only; see the list below.)

We also have a goal of raising $10,000 for the HIAS Welcome Campaign. HIAS receives some government funds to help a refugee family become independent but there is always a large gap. The Welcome Campaign provides financial assistance to fill this gap, as well as supports the activities and services of HIAS’ Refugee Resettlement program. Please click here to donate to our $10,000 if you can.

In addition, we will be providing mentorship to welcome and encourage the family on their path to self-sufficiency, for 6 months.  Activities include assistance with

    • simple English language learning,
    • public transport,
    • grocery shopping,
    • laundry,
    • financial literacy,
    • technology,
    • accessing community resources and
    • supporting the family with general acclimation and problem solving.

Representatives of the team of mentors will visit the family in their apartment approximately once a week and on an as needed basis.  (We can divide this role so not everyone needs to go every week.) If you are interested in providing mentorship, please click here to start the process by filling out a volunteer application.

HIAS has been resettling newcomers of all backgrounds and faiths for over 110 years. We are partnering with HIAS in creating a movement of welcoming inspired by Jewish values, as well as the history and experiences of refugees who came before us.  This links to a short YouTube video about the HIAS’ refugee assistance program.

Please share this information widely!   According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees “at least 103 million people around the world have been forced to flee their homes. Among them are nearly 32.5 million refugees.”  The need is astonishing.  Refugees need as much help as they can get! If you have questions, please contact John Dempsey at 312-925-8127 or

List of Items needed to set up the refugee's apartment (from HIAS)

 (Click here or on the flyer below to download a PDF version for printing.)

Sun, October 1 2023 16 Tishrei 5784