An update on the Jafo family
(THE FIRST SYRIAN REFUGEE FAMILY HELPED BY TEMPLE SINAI)

By Lawrie Lander

Abdo and Fatima Jafo came to Toronto 6 years ago with their three children, two boys Takoshar and Shiyar and their daughter Silvana. The Syrian Refugee Committee and those who donated money, furniture and personal property assisted the settling of the Jafo family They had very limited English language skills and the three children had not attended school for three years after they left Syria to escape persecution.

Committee members located and furnished an apartment for them and assisted JIAS with enrolling the teenagers in school, the parents in ESL classes, showing them the transportation system, teaching them Canadian finances, clothing them, and Temple members’ kids even contributed Bar/Bat Mitzvah money to buy the children bicycles and safety helmets. The family worked hard to learn the language and our customs including how to order a “double double” at Tim Hortons. 

Initially they stayed in Toronto and a few years ago they were encouraged by an extended family member to move to Guelph where there was the opportunity of full time work available at an auto parts factory. Abdo, Fatima and the oldest son Takoshar continue to work at the factory. Four months ago they moved to Cambridge to start the next phase of their journey. They are now living in their own home. They have 3 cars in the family and mom and dad and Takoshar commute to their work in Guelph.

Silvana is doing well with her grade 12 education. Her brother Shiyar is studying International Business Management at Conestoga College. Shiyar and Silvana recently obtained their Canadian Citizenship. Thankfully they have all kept safe from the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is heartwarming to see the family prospering and to all those who had a part in the mitzvah that Temple Sinai performed, we share the family’s pride and wish them continued good health and prosperity.

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