A London synagogue is raising funds to convert part of its premises to accommodate a refugee family from Syria.
The South London Liberal Synagogue, in Streatham, is planning to make a two-bedroom flat available to a family being resettled in the borough of Lambeth. It needs to raise £50,000 to refurbish a disused caretaker’s flat in the building, which is a former school.
“This is a very personal issue for a lot of our members,” said Alice Alphandary, the synagogue chair. “There is a sense that we as Jews have benefited from sanctuary in the past. For example, my father was a refugee in the 1950s. Now we want to repay that welcome to a new generation.
The synagogue – part of the Liberal Judaism movement – is a member of Citizens UK, which campaigns on behalf of refugees and other social justice issues. The London borough of Lambeth has committed to accommodating 20 families under the government’s programme that aims to see 20,000 vulnerable refugees from Syria resettled by 2020.
So far six Syrian families have been housed in the borough, including a couple and their four children who are living in a cottage in the grounds of Lambeth Palace, the home of the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. Two more families are expected to be housed next month.
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