Thanks for the update, Okanagancook. Glad to hear you have found a good way to communicate via modern technology so an interpreter isn't always needed.
Seems that Syria and Lebanon (or where was it they spent the majority of their time in the past few years?) must have been far more 'westernized' than I thought - if Oreo cookies and potato chips were so common as to become 'comfort foods' and veggie intake is low (I thought those were really the backbone of Middle Eastern diet judging by all the cookbooks purporting to pass on authentic recipes, etc. from that region) and that making pita bread making and hummus preparation were not common either in the home (I gather since she doesn't seem familiar with making them?) - yet she knows how to make labneh. I am not surprised they haven't eaten celery before though since I don't think that is a particularly common vegetable in those parts, is it?
As for juicing lemons - I use my hands or a spoon - I would imagine they have those in their kitchen? A simple plastic or wood reamer works fine too. Life may be a bit easier with a zester/rasp if zest is also needed.
In the Maritimes, specifically Nova Scotia, (according to an article I read recently on the cbc news site - I can't find it right now or I would link it) I gather a lot of the refugees, even in the larger communities, are really upset that they are having trouble getting halal meats (and when they get them they are very expensive). Apparently there are very few certified sources for halal meats right now. And yet, in some places (like Ottawa) for example, the last time I went grocery shopping there, I had trouble avoiding it and they seemed priced similarly to conventional meats.
As that pertains to your proposed Syrian dinner ... will the family be attending? And if so, will foods that are meat based (i.e. the kabobs, etc.) be all halal?