Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Soup for Syria seeks empty stomachs and generous hearts Sunday

By Marie MacCune

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Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

(Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Posters reading “Syrian Refugees Welcome Here” adorn restaurant windows and storefronts in Amherst Center. They announce that on Sunday, Jan. 31 at 4:30 p.m., the Amherst Jewish Community will be hosting “Soup for Syria,” to raise money to support medical help for refugees.

Soups from the cookbook, “Soup for Syria: Building Peace Through Food,” will be served and attendees will be updated on the refugee crisis. A collection will also be taken for the Syrian American Medical Society Foundation.

“It’s all related to the growing consciousness in the Valley,” said Judith Souweine, Chairperson Tikkun Olam for the Amherst Jewish Community, which is located at 742 Main St.

Souweine’s committee, which organized the event, “attempts to provide actions and volunteers for both local and international efforts.” In Hebrew, Tikkun Olam means “repair the world.”

Musicians from both the Layaali Arabic Music Ensemble and Klezperanto will also perform at the event. Speakers include Michel Moushabeck of Interlink Books, who compiled the cookbook, and Michael Kane of Valley Syrian Relief. Professor David Mednicoff, who is the director of Middle Eastern studies at the University of Massachusetts, will also be speaking.

In an email to the Daily Collegian, Mednicoff described how he came to be involved with the event.

“As someone with a background and experience in refugee law, I have specific knowledge of both the Middle Eastern side of the Syrian crisis and the U.S. and international legal sides,” Mednicoff said.

He went on to explain that he feels a strong responsibility “to encourage members of the University and the Amherst community to work to help Syrian refugees,” as it is “important to both U.S. and Middle Eastern security to do so.”

Mednicoff added: “My outreach work has led me to believe that many people in the U.S. and elsewhere genuinely want to help refugees. This includes friends and neighbors associated with the Soup for Syria event, in which I am happy to participate.”

Souweine’s comments about her synagogue’s involvement reverberate with that observation.

She called the refugee crisis across the globe “enormous” and said she thinks “it’s all of our responsibility to do what we can.”

“All of us are refugees,” Souweine said of the Jewish community and Americans. “Somewhere down the line, we all came from somewhere else.”

She added that as a member of the Jewish community, she feels particularly compelled to help, saying the Holocaust serves as a “constant reminder that we can’t turn our backs on suffering around the world.”

Marie MacCune can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MarieMaccune.

1 Comment

One Response to “Soup for Syria seeks empty stomachs and generous hearts Sunday”

  1. Judith Souweine on January 31st, 2016 8:21 pm

    Dear Marie, Thanks for this great article. we had a lot of students at the event and raised a lot of money. Judith Souweine

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