November of 2016 was a challenging time for many people, as it seemed like there was a cloud looming over the country. No one really knew what to expect, and the common emotion among people was fear –fear of the unknown, fear for our well-being, and fear of the country’s future.
Aber Drbi, her husband Essam Turkmani, and their two children arrived in the Chicago June, 2016. On their arrival from the small city of Irbid, Jordan, blood tests in the vetting process showed that Aber had a kidney disease, showing that only 15% of her kidneys were functioning properly. Three months later, both of her kidneys had completely failed, and Aber had begun dialysis treatment, a strenuous and painful medical procedure removing waste and excess water from the blood and is used primarily as an artificial replacement for lost kidney function in people with kidney failure.
Continue reading “How To Save A Life”
Tim and Marcia Thomsen, part of a volunteer group made up of 10 friends from the Congregation Beth Am temple in Buffalo Grove, took on the commitment of “adopting” a refugee family through the Syrian Community Network in December 2016. In the wake of the political climate from the year’s presidential election, Tim and Marcia felt compelled to do something to resist Trump’s anti-immigration agenda, but didn’t know exactly what. When their congregation’s Rabbi, Lisa Bellows, had connected Tim and Marcia with SCN and its adoption program, they were enthusiastic to join in but had little idea of what it actually meant to “adopt” a newly arrived refugee family in America.
I was not sure what to expect when I walked into the library to meet the Muhamed family in October 2016. Mustafa, Shaho, Lena, Muhamed, and Ronyar were sitting at a table, surrounded by other Syrian families waiting to meet the Americans who had signed up to “mentor” them. Like many, I was disturbed by the images beaming out of Syria, and had been trying to find a way to help when I heard SCN founder Suzanne Akhras speak in Chicago last year. I signed up.