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Catholic and Jewish communities in Fort Wayne join together to help Afghan refugees

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Catholic Charities Fort Wayne

Zoe Romanowsky - published on 02/18/22

Leaders of a local Jewish community presented Catholic Charities with a large donation to help them with their compassionate work.

More than 76,000 Afghans have been brought to the U.S. since the US withdrawal from Afghanistan this past summer, according to the Wall Street Journal. Many of them have moved into local communities where agencies, organizations, and churches are helping them to settle into jobs, housing, and schools.

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend (CCFWSB) is one organization that has been helping refugees to resettle in the area, and recently they received a generous donation from an unexpected source — the local Jewish community.

From a CCFWSB press release,

“In Jewish life it is a holy obligation for us to love the stranger as ourselves, and we understand this as the central principle of the Torah, our holy scriptures,” says Rabbi Meir Bargeron of Congregation Achduth Vesholom. “The Jewish people have been counted among refugee populations of the world in every age, so it is a privilege to help our new Afghan neighbors as they settle in Fort Wayne.”

The solidarity of people from different religious faiths and denominations has been one of the blessings in an otherwise tragic humanitarian crisis. But CCFWSB CEO Dan Florin calls it “unbelievable.”

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Jewish Federation President Dr. Scott Salon said that showing compassion in this way is part of the Jewish faith:

“As a people dedicated to living our Jewish values, we are committed and obligated to help the stranger in our midst and to Tikkun Olam, which in Hebrew means, ‘to repair the world.’…”

According to Salon, the JFFW pledged an initial amount equal to the fundraising goal that was set and the congregation’s board then voted to set a goal of double the original.  The revised goal was not only achieved but surpassed by the conclusion of the campaign.

“We are very proud of our community’s generosity,” Salong said.

Numerous people were involved with the fundraising campaign — a coordinated effort that has brought people of faith and good will together to help brothers and sisters in need.

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