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Immigrant Support

In partnership with the Immigrant Family Services Institute (IFSI) and Bethel AME Church in Jamaica Plain.

Supporting recent Haitian refugees

▸ Read the full May 2024 newsletter article here

▸ Watch the IFSI volunteer info session from March 28 on YouTube here

Through the generosity of CDT members, we have sent over 500 items of warm clothing to the Immigrant Family Support Institute (IFSI) for distribution to recent Haitian refugees, including support for families currently housed at Bethel AME. A big thank you to everyone who participated, with a special shout out to Earnest and the Religious School families! Urgent needs continue, and we are still seeking funds and other donations. See below for how you can help!

Volunteer opportunities: IFSI is seeking volunteers to help recently arrived migrants with their English skills. This intake form allows you to input your interests, abilities, preferred location, and schedule, and it gives a sense of existing times and places where classes are held. There is a section at the end where you can note any specific limitations or concerns. After they receive the form, IFSI will reach out by email and begin onboarding. 

Donations and help needed: 

1. Donate spring and summer clothing. You can drop them off at the CDT office or contact Meryl ( to make other arrangements.

2. Donate money for diapers and feminine hygiene products. When you click on the link, it will take you to the CDT donate page. Scroll down and under Payment Details, use the drop down menu and choose "Immigrant Support Fund." That will ensure that your donation is earmarked for this campaign. You can also donate via check — please see details in the "Overview" below.

3. Sign up for a two or three-week shift to pick up, sort, and deliver the clothes. Contact Trish ( to learn what that would entail — just know that it's fun and rewarding, and could be a great project to do as a family (and it's not a heavy lift smiley). 

Many thanks in advance for your continued support! f you have any questions, please email: Janet Penn ( and Meryl Epstein (


As refugees and asylum seekers have arrived in MA in ever-increasing numbers, Governor Healey recently declared a state of emergency in the state shelter system, which has reached its capacity. There is a new CDT initiative to respond to this refugee housing crisis by organizing a  synagogue-wide effort to support the Immigrant Family Services Institute. We invite you to join us - please read on for details.

IFSI is a local nonprofit that is supporting hundreds of recently arrived immigrants from Haiti, who are fleeing violence and poverty. Most of the newly arriving families are currently residing in motels throughout the state. These families often arrive with just the clothes on their backs and are in need of basic supplies for daily living.

Bethel AME is a fellow GBIO congregation in Jamaica Plain that has welcomed immigrants before and is well known to CDT. Partnering with IFSI, they are housing eight immigrant families.

The immediate needs we are addressing include:

  • Gently worn winter clothing, including coats, hats, gloves, boots, sweaters, long sleeve shirts, pants, and heavy socks. All sizes, from baby to adult are needed. 

  • Diapers, baby wipes, and feminine hygiene products (needed throughout the year).

  • 24 new towel sets for the initial families that Bethel AME is housing.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Bring gently used washed, or new, WINTER clothes to CDT and place them in the buckets outside Margaret’s office. Coats are especially in demand.

  • Donate money for our diaper and feminine hygiene campaign.  $36 buys 175 diapers and wipes, or bulk feminine hygiene supplies.  

  • Donate money for towels. $24 buys one towel set. Feel free to donate in multiples of $18/$36 to purchase towel sets.

Our goal is to raise $10,000 so we can support these families throughout the year. 

There are two ways to donate:

  • Go to the online payments CDT website. Under donations, select “Immigrant Support Fund” and put in the notes section whether you are donating to: (a) purchase towels, (b) diapers, or (c) wherever it’s needed most.

  • Write a check to CDT and in the memo specify as above, and mail to: Congregation Dorshei Tzedek, 60 Highland Street, West Newton MA 02465.

All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.


If you have any questions, please email: Janet Penn ( and Meryl Epstein ( We look forward to working with you on this vital new Tikkun Olam project.

Read Pam Katz' February 2024 newsletter article, Wishing Farewell to a Partner and Friend in All of Our Immigration Work

Mon, June 24 2024 18 Sivan 5784