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Valley rabbi hosts Thanksgiving meal for refugees

Posted at 10:29 PM, Nov 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-25 00:29:20-05

SCOTTSDALE, AZ — A mix of cultures, religions, and races - all sitting down together, as one.

"Thanksgiving has been a time for us to embrace some of the most vulnerable people in our community, those who are arriving as refugees and asylum-seekers, and are really afraid still of where they are and if they’ll make it," says Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, Valley Beit Midrash.

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz opened up his home in Scottsdale on Wednesday to a handful of those families. Arizona Jews for Justice worked with several partner agencies to host a Thanksgiving dinner - full of food and meaning.

"For us to have the chance to hear their stories and more deeply connect with them and the needs they have, so we can be advocates for them at large... because many people are afraid of refugees and other people want to help but they don’t know what exactly is needed, so we want to be able to tell their stories," says Rabbi Yanklowitz.

Their stories are all different, but they have all traveled long distances before arriving in the United States.

"Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras," says a Venezuelan woman who sought refuge.

The woman arrived a month ago from Venezuela with her family, saying they want a better life and a better education for their children.

Another family came from Afghanistan and is already receiving a warm welcome.

"We have a lot of friends, all of them want to help us. What do you need?" says an Afghan man who sought refuge.

These families tell us they look forward to many firsts in a new country. They are also hopeful and thankful for the opportunity at the center of this meal.

"We are again born. Also, we have a lot of things here that United States support the people to get educated," says Afghan refuge.