For the past year, Congregation Beth Ahabah has partnered with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to assist with the resettlement of the Pardes family from Afghanistan. Sifatullah and Abida Pardes and their five children escaped from Afghanistan in December 2021.
Fearing for their safety, the family only had a few hours to gather their important documents and flee to the Kabul airport.
They flew to Qatar and then to Germany before finally arriving in the U.S. After spending three months at Fort Lee, they moved to Richmond, and with the help of Beth Ahabah volunteers, settled into their new home.
Congregants gave of their time to drive the family to doctor’s visits, grocery stores, and other places.
They generously assisted with living expenses, including rent and utilities, funded driving lessons for Sifatullah, donated household items such as lamps and carpets, and helped the five children with their English skills and schoolwork.
In September 2022, Beth Ahabah’s leadership announced a new initiative entitled “Ahavat Ger” (loving the stranger).
The campaign sought to help the family transition to financial independence and self-sufficiency, and a $36,000 fundraising goal was announced.
We are happy to share that since then, that goal has been met, and a new chapter has begun for the Pardes family.
For many months, Sifatullah had been biking 30 minutes each way to and from his job at Walmart. Now he can drive there in a reliable vehicle with enough space for the entire family.
This will greatly improve his job opportunities for the future. Congregants and community volunteers are donating their time to tutor the elementary school-age children and help them with their homework. The family is extremely grateful for all the contributions they have received.
We could not have achieved these amazing goals without the generosity of our congregational volunteers!
Members Jonathan and Claudette Lewis were recently honored with the Sam Troy Award during January’s Brotherhood Shabbat service at Congregation Beth Ahabah.
The Lewises were recognized for Beth Ahabah. their devotion and dedication to projects at Beth Ahabah and beyond. In addition to helping with the Pardes family’s resettlement, they also coordinated monthly lunch programs to feed Richmond residents who are experiencing homelessness.
As leaders in the synagogue’s Brit Olam Committee, they have also assisted with many other projects at the synagogue. Beth Ahabah appreciates all its volunteers, and we look forward to more exciting news in the months to come!