London Synagogue to House Syrian Refugee Family

The South London Liberal Synagogue is pitching in to an 'Abraham's tent' project sponsored in part by the government, aimed at getting houses of worship involved in sheltering Syrians, Guardian reports.

Syrian refugees wait to enter the Jordanian side of the Hadalat border crossing, a military zone east of the capital Amman, Jordan, May 4, 2016.
Khalil Mazraawi, AFP

The South London Liberal Synagogue plans to house a family of Syrian refugees, once it raises the funds to renovate an apartment where a caretaker once lived.

The house of worship in Streatham belongs to Citizens UK, which campaigns on behalf of refugees and other social causes, The Guardian reported Sunday.

It is located within the London borough of Lambeth which has pledged to accommodate 20 families under a government program to resettle 20,000 refugees by 2020.

Alice Alphandary, the synagogue's chairwoman, said the project "is a very personal issue for a lot of our members.  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."

“People see it as a great opportunity to make a difference,” Alphandary said.

The 220-member synagogue needs to raise 50,000 pounds to renovate the two-bedroom apartment on its premises for the family.

Alphandary said the synagogue hopes to receive rent payments from the local authority.

Six Syrian families have found homes in the borough.

The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby and home secretary Amber Rudd presented a plan in July known as the "Abraham's tent project" to encourage the public, including faith organizations, to sponsor refugees.

Other U.K. synagogues, churches and mosques, have also raised funds for refugees.

Danny Rich, the senior rabbi of Liberal Judaism and co-chair of the National Refugee Welcome Board, said the Bible teaches  ‘You shall love the stranger because you know the experience of being a stranger in the land of Egypt.'