22 July 2022
Months after the war in Ukraine began, the images from its early days and memories of my mission to the Poland border have stayed with me. I will never forget the faces and stories of those fleeing the violence – or the incredible response of those eager to help them, both in our community and overseas. Though the intense news coverage of the war has given way to other stories, Federation remains steadfast in our commitment to helping Ukraine’s Jewish community, especially as resettlement efforts to the United States begin.
Even as the situation continues to evolve, we are working with community partners to understand and support resettling Ukrainian refugees in Israel as well as in Greater Washington. Your support has enabled 30,000 Ukrainian Jews to establish new homes in Israel. In Europe, we are supporting the work of our global partner, JDC, to address the needs of refugees throughout the region as they build new lives. In Ukraine, we are partnering to help rebuild Jewish community in all its forms. And here at home, we are looking to partner with multiple organizations to support the resettlement of Ukrainian refugees of all faiths.
On the ground in Ukraine today, our community’s generous support has contributed significantly to the more than $71 million raised by Jewish Federations since February. This funding has enabled our partners in Ukraine, Europe, and Israel to collaborate in innovative and crucial ways to care for those in need. As Hanna Pysana, herself a refugee from Odesa who now volunteers with JDC in Moldova, shared, “We are home for people right now, the first home they get when they come from destroyed cities. Our task…is to provide people with this feeling of safety, and the possibility of understanding that life goes on. They really need that now.”
To date, our collective efforts have:
- enabled emergency hotline support for more than 250,000 people in need
- provided medical and psychological care to more than 100,000
- served meals to more than 60,000
- delivered 538 tons of humanitarian aid (medical equipment, clothing, food, and hygiene products) to the organizations and individuals that need them
- helped tens of thousands make Aliyah (immigrate to Israel)
- …and so much more
With no end to the war in sight, our community’s support is providing hope and saving lives. Elena Proskurnja, Director of Hesed Michael social welfare center in Zaporizhia, Ukraine, noted, “When you are cowering from the booms and flinching at the sound of breaking glass, you need to focus on something that is so pure and so good that it outshines the darkness of conflict and fear.”
Thank you for providing that light. To learn more and to read the latest from our partners on the ground, visit shalomdc.org/ukraine.
I remain humbled by your generosity and compassion for our local Jewish community, and for our Jewish family around the world. Thank you for your commitment to caring for those in need, wherever they may be.
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