Introducing the Khalaf Family

Submitted by: Jane Kenamore

We are looking forward to a visit from the Khalaf family on Sunday, October 30, at the 11 a.m. service.  As you know, UCE is co-sponsoring the Khalafs with Refugee One, a not-for-profit agency that resettles refugees.

The family is composed of parents Khaled and Fattoum;  son Mohammed, 22; daughter Aya, 18; and son Uday, 14.  The family left their home in Aleppo in 2012 and had lived in a refugee camp in Turkey before their arrival here on September 8.  Since they arrived, they’ve been settling in and have become familiar with their neighborhood in Skokie and the greater environs.

Church mentors have shown them how to get around on the El; taken them grocery shopping, shopped for winter clothing, visited the beach in Evanston; and taken them to the Art Institute, the Cultural Center, and Millennium Park.

Currently the entire family is focusing on learning English.  They attend ESL classes up to four days/week through Oakton College and Refugee One; and Lynn Kendall and Meredith Haydon are reinforcing the classes with home instruction.  The entire family is enthusiastic about learning English, so they make great students!  (No bragging, but the kids are the stars of their classes!)

Finally, a cultural note:  When you meet them in church, it’s ok for UCE women to shake hands with the men in the family.  The women in the family are not comfortable, however, with shaking hands with men they don’t know.  The common gesture in lieu of the handshake is to place your hand over your heart.