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Welcome Circle : April 2022

Dear PJTC Welcome Circle Friends & Supporters:

The Z. family from Afghanistan continues their adjustment to life in Pasadena with good humor and optimism. The big news this month is that, thanks to Joe Widman and Howard Landau’s orientation to American jobs and Ruth Wolman’s contact with a congregant in the business community, Mr. Z. just started a part-time job in the stockroom of a Pasadena store. Mr. Z. is almost as excited about the job as he is at having gotten his California driver’s permit! He is an experienced driver on the streets of Kabul but is taking driving lessons to get used to our unfamiliar traffic lights, signs and freeways. Ms. Z. is also eager to learn how to drive, a new experience for her.

Franci Levine-Grater is researching ways to make the costs of used car ownership workable for the Z. family for a few reasons: They are intent on having a car; some employers have indicated that a car is necessary to be considered for a job; and having a car seems key to the family’s independence in Southern California. If you have a lead on an inexpensive used car in good condition, please contact Franci at
In other news:

  • Ms. Z. is a diligent student who is on track to ace her first session of ESL classes and looks forward to moving on to the next level.
  • In addition to classes, the Z.’s appreciated some ESL tutoring from Linda Mazur and volunteer Steve Klein.
  • Both adults have been fasting from dawn to dusk during the month of Ramadan. The family has enjoyed break-the-fast iftar dinners at the local mosque and New Horizons School, with help from Tammy Silver and Carl Selkin.
  • The girls, Maryam and Hoda, are settling in at preschool and starting to sing tunes in English like The Alphabet Song. The teacher sends photos of them in the classroom and on the playground, which Ms. Z. then forwards to her family members in Afghanistan with captions in Dari.
  • The Z.’s now have access to free produce, dairy items, and other healthy foods through WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children), in addition to food stamps, cash assistance, and MediCal.

For community members who have expressed an interest in volunteering to help the Z. family, thank you! We hope to engage some of you in accompanying them on excursions or helping with errands or appointments in May after Ramadan ends.

The Z. family is fortunate to have permanent housing in Pasadena, thanks to a congregant who is their landlord. Of the 75,000 Afghans resettled in the U.S. since summer 2021, 10,000 are still in temporary housing. And new waves of refugees continue to arrive in need of sponsorship and housing. If you know a synagogue or Jewish organization anywhere in the U.S. that might be interested in forming a private Welcome Circle like ours to support an Afghan refugee family for 6 months, please contact Meredith Levy at HIAS, .

As always, many thanks for your support that makes it possible to help the Z. family!

PJTC Welcome Circle

Susan Auerbach, Howard Landau, Franci Levine-Grater, Linda Mazur, Carl Selkin, Tammy Silver, Joe Widman, Ruth Wolman

Tue, June 28 2022 29 Sivan 5782