Donations for Afghans “a tremendous act of love” from the local community
A synagogue was inundated with supplies for Afghan families newly arrived in the area after a Facebook request was met with “a tremendous act of love” from the local community.
Rabbi Elchonon Feldman, of the Bushey United Synagogue in Hertfordshire, messaged worshipers on a private Facebook page on Thursday evening and then saw the donations pack the place’s parking lot on Sunday at noon.
The rabbi had been contacted by Laurence Brass, the Bushey North counselor, who said some Afghan families had been placed in the area and needed items such as warm clothes, toiletries, toys and supplies. basic school.
Rabbi Feldman told the PA News Agency: “My response was, ‘I’m absolutely sure we can help, although I’m not sure we can meet all of their needs, but we can definitely try. . ‘
“It’s gone crazy. People copied the post (Facebook). They passed it around and by the time Sunday arrived we had about 3,000 bags (of items) that had been brought in to help.
He added, “It was a tremendous act of love and completely led by volunteers who all just wanted to help. They are not just Jews. The message ended up going far and everyone just wanted to make a difference. “
Volunteers are now working through donations to see where best to place items for Afghan families – and whatever remains will go to other charities, the rabbi said.
There were probably around 1,500 people in the original private Facebook group. By 11:30 am Sunday, the parking lot had become “a mound” of clothes, bikes, toiletries, clothing and “you’ve never seen anything like it,” according to the rabbi.
Writer Giovanna Fletcher described the event as “a community coming together” and that she and a friend were astonished by the act of kindness.
In an Instagram post, she said: “On Thursday evening, Rabbi Elchonon Feldman posted a Facebook post saying 72 families have arrived locally from Afghanistan and they need everything from clothes to toys and books. children. The word has spread. Three days later, we were driving towards the synagogue and saw floods of people walking with bags to give away. “
She added, “I couldn’t believe my eyes. All of this is sorted and then distributed to those in need. It went beyond the 72 families. What a welcoming sight.
Speaking as a member of the Jewish community, the rabbi added: “Among a group of people who have come to the UK as refugees themselves, there is a particular nerve that is touched when we hear talk about people coming here with (nothing) and running away much worse – how can you turn away from something like that? “
He met some of the refugees who wanted to say thank you and gave him tea, chocolates and talked about their situation.
The rabbi said, “They are interpreters. These are the supporters of the Afghan and British forces. They are amazing people to whom we owe so much gratitude. It is not just about refugees on the run. They are not like us, they are heroes. I’m just trying to do my part.
“Your children will grow up and they will find that another generation will come and the same way the UK embraced us and now we are trying to hug you your children and grandchildren will embrace another group of refugees and just pass it on .
Mr Brass said he contacted the synagogue after visiting the hotels where Afghans are temporarily based and found that they needed many basic supplies, including warm clothes, as “they found the British cold (the weather ) very disturbing “.
He said: “The Jewish community of Bushey responded in the most extraordinary way with tons and tons of items that the rabbi and I look forward to distributing to the refugees this week.
“I am delighted with the response. “
Mr Brass recalled talking to the fathers of the young Afghan children and asking them if they would like to take them outside, but was told that they did not have strollers to carry them to the park so that they could take them outside. ‘they can play.
Mr Brass said: “A message to the synagogue community was sent and within three hours 29 buggies arrived. I thought it was just amazing and that’s how it went all day.