Sinai Free Synagogue has been assisting a Ukrainian family who fled the war and has now settled in Mount Vernon. In the article below, News 12 explains what happened and how SFS has helped.
One of our B’nai Mitzvah described what it has meant to her to be part of this effort:
“A few months ago, a Ukrainian family of 3, were living in a city in south-eastern Ukraine, when Russia invaded. Tao, is an American citizen who used to live in the tri-state area, was lucky and immediately fled to Poland with his elderly parents. They then were able to come to Mount Vernon living in a small downstairs area of a friend’s house. After they lived there for a few weeks, they were helped by an organization known as Neighbors For Refugees who reached out to our congregation to help. Together, we were able to help them with health care and relocating to a bigger house. My mother was one of the people who helped to coordinate our synagogue efforts. At first, I was confused about what was going on and wasn’t really sure if I wanted to participate in these efforts. However, once I realized helping this family could mean so much to them, I was happy to help out.
On the day of their move I just held the door, but I realized even doing something small like this, I was part of a larger effort. Once they were settled in, I was proud of our synagogue, and my little part, knowing that we changed these people’s lives positively.
This lesson connects to becoming a Bat Mitzvah which is about taking one’s place in the Jewish adult world and trying to do things together to make the world a little bit better. I can tell you you get a nice feeling, knowing you did something good to help people. I encourage all of us to strive be part of something that touches people’s lives. So, with that said, do a couple nice things for people once in a while. Even if it’s just holding the door for someone, it could mean so much.”
The News article is below:
Ukrainian family settles in Mount Vernon
Apr 21, 2022, 6:09pmUpdated on Apr 22, 2022
By: Nadia Galindo
A Mount Vernon apartment is now a sanctuary of safety for a Ukrainian family fleeing the war. Tao, who asked us not to use his last name, is an American citizen who used to live in the tri-state. He and his parents were living in Zaporizhzhya, Ukraine, when Russia invaded. “We was in shock, we didn’t believe this was happening now,” said Tao. “The airport of my city was bombed. One military point was bombed.”
Just two days into the war, he and his parents made the difficult decision to leave their home and flee the country. His dad Volodymyr grabbed two suitcases. “I can’t say I was thinking about our future – our son’s future,” he said.
They fled to Poland and then flew to New York where local organizations helping Ukrainian refugees heard the family didn’t have a stable place to stay. “They give us everything, they help us with the apartment with everything,” said Tao.
Holly Rosen Fink with Westchester Jewish Coalition for Immigration said they collaborated with Neighbors for Refugees and Sinai Free Synagogue to help find the family an apartment, pay rent and furnish the home. “There was no hesitation on anyone’s part to help this family. They did not expect any assistance when they came, they continue to be grateful every day,” she said.
Rosen Fink is hopeful they can help resettle more Ukrainians in the Hudson Valley. She’s hopeful President Joe Biden’s new Unite for Ukraine program will make the process easier. The president announced Thursday the program will expedite the U.S. immigration process for Ukrainian refugees. “It’s honestly the news we’ve been waiting for,” said Rosen Fink. American’s must sponsor them and provide financial support.
Tao is now working two jobs to support his parents and hopes to soon be financially independent.