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OPT and RefugeeOne

Oak Park Temple is partnering with RefugeeOne to support a refugee family in their resettlement in Chicago. Community members can sign up to volunteer, and donations are always helpful.

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Donate here to support our work.

The Jewish community is part of a massive nationwide mobilization to welcome  refugees, with congregations participating in refugee resettlement efforts at an unprecedented pace. Under the guidance of Rabbi Kirzane, a group of Oak Park Temple members have joined together with RefugeeOne to become co-sponsors for a refugee family who are expected to arrive in Chicago in February.

RefugeeOne is the largest refugee resettlement agency in Chicago. With the help of volunteer co-sponsors, RefugeeOne works with refugees from the time they arrive in Chicago.  While RefugeeOne provides programmatic services, co-sponsors provide critical relational support to refugees as they begin to rebuild their lives. The goal is to help refugee families become independent community members in 6-9 months. 

To date, our group has procured furniture for one apartment, purchased dry goods and other essential items and raised several thousands of dollars from our temple members. Once the apartment is available, our group will set up the apartment with donated furniture and  two weeks worth of groceries. When the family arrives, we will meet them at the airport, provide a welcome meal at their new apartment and visit weekly to help them adjust to life in Chicago. Over time we will build relationships and  introduce the family members to all that Chicago has to offer. 

For further information about the OPT team efforts, or if you would like to help the family at some point, please contact temple member Mike Awe at mcce@sbcglobal. net 

RefugeeOne’s mission is to create opportunity for refugees fleeing war, terror, and persecution to build new lives of safety, dignity, and self-reliance. As the largest resettlement agency in Illinois, RefugeeOne has welcomed more than 18,000 refugees through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program since 1982. RefugeeOne walks alongside refugees from the moment they land at O’Hare International Airport—welcoming them to Chicago and providing furnished apartments, English classes, job readiness training, mental health care, youth programming, and mentors to help them adjust to life in the U.S. 

Moving far away, learning another language, and adjusting to a new culture are difficult experiences for anyone to face alone. As a RefugeeOne co-sponsor, OPT will help alleviate those struggles for refugees by assisting with rent and basic needs, setting up a welcoming apartment, and mentoring them when they arrive in Chicago. OPT volunteers will also be a friend, providing social and emotional support.

Please send questions about our refugee resettlement project to Rabbi Kirzane at

Wed, July 24 2024 18 Tammuz 5784