It is heartening to read the positive rabbinic response to the challenges of the Syrian migrant crisis (“Migrant Crisis Moves Community to Action,” Sept. 24). Thousands of refugees will likely arrive on our shores in the near future. This is a good time to consider formulating a resettlement plan at the community level.
In 1998 I spearheaded an interfaith effort to resettle Kosovo refugee families into our community. My recommendation is that non-profit organizations and governmental agencies should:
• Prepare a handbook of resources and guidelines to assist religious congregations across the nation resettling refugee families.
• Prepare intense, mandatory workshops for arriving families to teach them the values and responsibilities of living in a tolerant and diverse society, in addition to learning English.
• Monitor the airlines transporting refugees to our shores, to eliminate uxorious profits from the cost born by the refugees, as was the case with the Kosovo refugees.
I have contacted HIAS and the U.S. State Department to learn what is being done to address these concerns.
Diversity has always been America’s strength. If we can teach refugees our language, and perhaps more importantly our common core values, while being respectful of their own customs, we have the potential to invigorate and strengthen our nation.