Dear WJC Family,
We know many of you share our shock and dismay at the horrifying acts of unprovoked Russian aggression in Ukraine. The sickening reports and images of damaged neighborhoods, frightened people, civilian injuries, and even death are compounded by the disturbing echoes of a nightmarish past too many of us know intimately. Though not the direct target of the Russian attacks as in those past experiences, Ukraine’s Jews (including President Volodymyr Zelensky) are caught in the middle of the fighting fearing for their lives. Many of us have roots in or near Ukraine and so between the large number of Jewish residents (some 43,000 self-identifying Jews and as many as 400,000 people of Jewish descent) and the reminders of our own personal stories, this attack feels particularly personal.
Something you may or may not have known is that our Conservative Movement, known internationally as Masorti Olami, has a presence in Ukraine. There is a Conservative congregation and Jewish Day School in Kiev and synagogues in several other cities. Last we heard on the first day of the attack, there was an effort being made to evacuate all of those Jewish families to the Westernmost community, Chernivtsi, where the Masorti Olami shlichim in Ukraine, Rabbi Reuven and Lena Stamov, are trying desperately to make everyone comfortable and safe. We know that many other Jewish organizations on the ground in Ukraine (JDC, Chabad, HIAS) are making similarly extraordinary efforts on behalf of the Jews of Ukraine, and indeed all of the innocent civilians caught by this terrible unprovoked attack.
We wanted to take this opportunity to share information regarding the organizations that are helping on the ground in Ukraine as well as share the Prayer for Ukraine we recited in synagogue on Shabbat morning for you to recite as moved.
UJA Federation of New York will be holding a zoom briefing about Ukraine on Tuesday, March 1 at 12:00pm. Please see below for details.
With Prayers for Peace,
Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz
Seth Schafler, president
We are keeping a close watch on the deepening crisis in Ukraine. Tragically, lives have already been lost. We pray for the safety and well-being of all the people of Ukraine.
This afternoon, our leadership met and approved an emergency grant of up to $3 million to support the Jewish community of Ukraine. These funds will be used by our primary overseas partners — the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and the Jewish Agency (JAFI) — and other grassroots partners to provide for the safety and well-being of the approximately 200,000 Jews living today in Ukraine. If you would like to make a gift and support this critical work, please visit our crisis donation page.
Join us for an important briefing on Tuesday, March 1, 2022, at 12:00pm featuring experts from JDC, JAFI, and other partners as they provide real-time information and updates on the situation in Ukraine and the status of the Jewish community there. Sign up here.
Thanks to your support, our overseas partners on the ground currently are:
Kol Yisrael arevim z’bzeh — “All Israel is responsible for one another.” In these very troubling times, this ancient Jewish principle resonates ever more deeply.
Eric S. Goldstein
CEO, UJA-Federation of New York