Children all around the world are preparing for summer camp, even in Ukraine! For 30 years, Ukrainian Jewish children attended day and overnight camps, and this year will be no different. More than 2,000 kids are headed for camp where they will participate in recreation, education, religious, and social development activities.
Children like 8 year old Arina Pilipchuk from Kyiv, attended camp last summer, providing a bit of normalcy in the chaos of war. Arina often recalls her stay at summer camp, and dreams of returning. There she made new friends and she received much-needed psychological support.
Elena from Chernihiv also benefited greatly from her camp experience last year. Her mother explained, “Camp is not just a place where children are supervised, it is a place where they become little spies, little magicians, and little carefree and happy children. As a mother I am very grateful for your help. Given our current circumstances, we could not give even 10% of what you could do for them.“
Elena's family was in Chernihiv while the city was under attack. The bombs damaged their home and traumatized the entire family, most especially Elena.
The summer camps will be held in several locations throughout the country, with final arrangements determined based on safety and security. The camps include 2 and 3 week sessions, and include opportunities for entire families to enjoy much needed rest and relaxation. After more than 15 months of war, it is more important than ever that we attend to the emotional and spiritual needs of the people of Ukraine, in addition to the humanitarian aid we provide. With your help we continue to save lives and restore hope.
JRNU has been supporting Ukrainian communities since the first days of the war, with food, medicine, shelter, medical care and more. Last summer we held camps, in the fall we opened schools, in the winter we supplied power, and in the Spring we brought Passover and Shavuot supplies and celebrations like never before.
With the recent widespread attacks on cities across the country, we developed an initiative to help community leaders keep people safe.
Reserve Lt. Col. Shay Blaish, who served as a general officer of the Home Front Command of the Israeli Defense Forces, visited Ukrainian Jewish communities in the areas hardest hit by the war. Blaish met with local Jewish leaders to share important advice regarding how to evade Russian missile and UAV attacks.
Blaish was accompanied by Elia Goldberg, CWA Kbat, from JRNU's security center in Ukraine.
Blaish said that "the community has taken impressive actions to prepare protected spaces for the residents, installing generators and more. Ukrainian Jewry is a symbol of Jewish resilience. She is dealing with a complex crisis, while overcoming many obstacles and empowering the community."
With your support we are continually advancing our efforts to save lives and restore hope.
A particularly fiery holiday passed over the Jews of Ukraine. Major air attacks hit many parts of the country, and more than forty drones were intercepted in the skies of Kyiv. Zhitomer shook with explosions damaging the Jewish orphanage, and in Khmelnitsky pieces of metal fell from the sky.
The rabbi of Khmelnitsky, Levi Stambler, and his family stayed at the community synagogue during the holiday, as they have been doing every Shabbat and holiday since the outbreak of the war.
"When we returned home after the holiday," recalls Rabbi Stambler, "it turned out that shrapnel from a missile had fallen in the yard of the house and in the parking lot. Shrapnel also hit the basement window. In addition, the fluorescent lights on the balcony detached from the ceiling from the top."
The fragments surprised Rabbi Stambler. "Echoes of explosions in the distance is a routine in the last year," he noted, "but shrapnel in the yard, this is the first time."
We are grateful no one was injured and the communities were able to enjoy a festive Shavuot holiday, notwithstanding the ongoing war.
Whatever greeting you prefer, we wish you a wonderful Shavuot holiday, full of joy and happiness. It is a privilege to help the people of Ukraine, especially as we celebrate the Festival of Weeks when we commemorate receiving the Torah. Thank you for your generous support; together we will continue to save lives and restore hope.
Kherson, an industrial and port city located on the Dnipro River, has been devastated by the war. Even after the Russian withdrawal in November, the attacks continued:
"We live here in a routine of bombings," says Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Wolff." Our city is under constant bombarding, literally on a daily basis. Sometimes it happens several times a day, sometimes even at night, just all the time. It is not recommended for anyone to wander around the city. Those who don't have a real reason - do not leave their homes."
The once thriving local economy is in shambles, people have no jobs or source of income. The local synagogue, with support from JRNU has become a lifeline for city residents, Jews and non Jews alike:
"The door of our community is always open," he said, "but since the war, we have opened it to all the residents. We have become an address for many residents. Over the past year, we have distributed countless food packages, along with essential and life-saving medications."
Recently, more than 4,000 people registered and received $200 cash each, enough to buy critical supplies for at least one month. This incredible support was made possible through generous donors from around the world.
JRNU and Rabbi Wolff continue to save lives and restore hope to the people of Kherson: "From the moment the terrible war broke out, every resident in the city understood that we are their address for any assistance." says Rabbi Wolff
Days after war broke out in Ukraine, JRNU assisted the Alumim orphanage in Zhytomyr, make a harrowing escape through the Carpathian Mountains to Romania and then to Israel, where they settled in Ashkelon.
Rabbi Shlomo Wilhelm, the Rabbi of Zhytomyr has been with the children every step of the way. Last week he had a new crisis to manage: “On Tuesday, we woke up to the news about the elimination of the three commanders of the Islamic Jihad in Gaza, and the missile attacks that were expected on the south of Israel. The situation reminded me of what we experienced on the morning of February 24, 2022, when the situation began in Ukraine. We received an announcement that the educational institutions in the south were closing. We decided that we cannot wait until the missile attacks begin. These children have gone through so much hardship and in the last year we have done everything to help them cope with the trauma and surround them with love and attention.”
“We decided to take them to a place in the center of the country that will be quieter than in the south,” Rabbi Wilhelm continued. “The first place we contacted was Ohr Simcha, which the children have visited in the past and with which they are familiar. We tried not to arouse fear and anxiety. We told them we are leaving for a long trip. They know that there’s a tense security situation, but it’s an indirect awareness. They see it as a trip and a vacation from school. Unfortunately, our administrative staff already knows how to cope with situations such as this one. We are planning to stay here for a few days, hoping that the situation in the south will improve and we can return to our routine.”
Moshe Leib, one of the children from Zhytomyr noted the similarity between the children’s experiences in Ukraine and the missile attack on southern Israel: “I am afraid that there will also be shooting and bombs here. I am afraid that soon there will be a war against Gaza. I am afraid that once again I will have to fly to another place because there will be a war. I don’t want any more war.”
“It’s wonderful for me in Israel,” Moshe Leib said. “I play all day. I learned a little bit of Hebrew. I live in Ashkelon, which is near the sea, and I love to go to the sea once a week."
Yael Eckstein, President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, an organization that has provided significant support to the orphanage, said: “At the outset of the crisis in Ukraine, we were able to help 100 orphans relocate from the town of Zhytomyr and find a new life in Ashkelon. Tragically, the winds continue to follow them and this week they moved to a safer place. These are children who have stared trauma and fear in the face for so much of their lives, but they remain hopeful for better days ahead.”
From Krivoy Rog, to Kharkiv, to Poltava to Kyiv, delivery trucks are arriving at Jewish communities all over Ukraine, full of special products for the upcoming Shavuot holiday.
Meat, poultry, ice cream and cheesecakes will be distributed by rabbis, staff and volunteers to tens of thousands of local families. The ice cream, and many other products in the shipments, were produced in local factories.
Shavuot is a time of celebrations and spiritual reflection, as families and communities gather to observe traditions and customs passed down through generations. It is a holiday marked by the reading of sacred texts, engaging in acts of kindness and indulging in delicious dairy-based delicacies.
The distribution of holiday food items will allow Ukrainian Jews to celebrate another holiday in the shadow of the war.
Your support allows JRNU to continue saving lives and restoring hope.
It's easy to forget there is a war in Ukraine. Every day people are injured or killed from bombs, missiles, and gun fire, in cities and villages all over Ukraine. Our daily lives proceed, as they should, with work, family, friends, social activities, sports and other hobbies. But the two are not mutually exclusive, we can carry on with our lives and remember the people of Ukraine. We should help one another, by offering a gentle reminder, of little Masha who has almost no toys, very few clothes and little access to food outside of JRNU's support.
Or maybe young Kirill who receives speech therapy in addition to food and other aid from JRNU due to the severe trauma he endured when his father was taken into captivity or when his childhood home was destroyed during one of the bombings in Mariupol.
Please help us put the Ukrainian people in the forefront of hearts and minds everywhere, by following us on social media @JRNUkraine, or sharing our website with a friend.
Yesterday in the United States millions of mothers were celebrated for the devotion, dedication, hard work and sacrifice they make for their families. Motherhood is hard work under the best circumstances; in Ukraine for the last 15 months it has become a challenge of epic proportions. With minimal warning and no preparation or training, on a daily basis mothers find themselves in roles and situations they could never have imagined. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all mothers in Ukraine, and we especially think about the many women we help who have been trapped in an apartment with explosions going on all around them, watched their sons go off to war, given birth in a dark basement or in a hospital while it is shelled, fled their home to save their kids and no longer have a home or community to return, waited at home while their kindergarteners were locked in the school bomb shelter due to a missile strike, run out of food and water in occupied territories, spent days and nights in cold and dark homes trying to keep the kids warm and safe, and reassured their children that their father is safe while away at war praying the words were true. We continue to help mothers and families in Ukraine, saving lives and restoring hope.
Food continues to be one of the most pressing issues for millions of Ukrainians. Over the past 14 months, the availability and price of food has varied significantly, but one fact is constant: people lack the means to provide food for their families. Prices for food in Ukraine are not dissimilar to those in the United States, with some items costing less, like chicken, bread, fruits and vegetables. Restaurant prices are similar to the United States as well, and the same holds true for clothing. The significant difference lies in the availability of jobs and prevailing wages. In large cities, such as Kyiv, the average wage is $4.25 per hour ($680 per month). With apartment rent averaging $400-$800 per month depending on size, there is little money for food and other necessities. The rate of employment in Ukraine has improved slightly in recent months, but 1 in every 5 people are still without work. And for many families, the head of household is away serving in the military, leaving the other parent to care for the children with only limited opportunity for work. Food is a pressing issue for most households.
Our food distribution programs are more important than ever. In cities, towns and villages all across Ukraine we ensure individuals and families don't go hungry. Through a combination of soup kitchens, food packages and grocery store vouchers, we deliver food to those who need it most.
The daily work of JRNU staff and volunteers continues, attending to short and long term needs of the people including medicine, medical care, lodging and more.
The people of Ukraine continue to suffer both direct and indirect damage from the war. More than 8 million people left Ukraine (and are now refugees in other countries), and nearly 5.5 million people are displaced within the country. Women and children are disproportionately impacted (men are serving in the military), with more than ½ of all kids having left their homes. Our staff and volunteers sit with community members every day to understand and address the various needs, short and long term. The humanitarian aid we provide is individualized and often includes a combination of food, medical or mental health services, children or elderly services and more. We have been there for the people, each and every one of the 441 days of war, and we will be there long after the war has ended. Thanks to support from generous donors we are saving lives and restoring hope one person at a time.
Lag BaOmer, the holiday of Jewish unity, which begins tonight and is celebrated through tomorrow at sundown, is particularly impactful for Ukrainian Jews this year. The past 15 months have been marked by fear, loss, stress and uncertainty. The outpouring of support from around the world has been a wonder to behold! Tens of thousands of Ukrainian Jews have survived thanks to the compassion and generosity of the global Jewish and non-Jewish communities. Money, food, clothing, medicine, physical and mental healthcare, and much more have allowed Ukrainians to get through each day and retain hope for better days to come. Holiday celebrations such as the recent Purim and Passover events, and the bonfires and meals in honor of Lag BaOmer, remind us of the need to care and support one another, no matter how close or far the distance between us. We are grateful to all of our donors, today and everyday.
Recent attacks nearly destroyed the Poplavskyi family home in Mykolaiv. The glass panels flew off their balcony when bombs landed just a few blocks away. A short time later, another attack blew out every window in the entire apartment. With no means to make permanent repairs, the family taped film across each window, allowing light to enter the house while providing protection from the wind and cold. They pray for no more attacks and appreciate the ongoing aid from JRNU.
After a bomb landed near their home in Mykolayiv in the early days of the war, the Kantsurenko family fled to Israel. Mr. Kantsurenko remained behind to assist other community members evacuate and await military duty. One month ago, Mrs. Kantsurenko returned with the two daughters and the grandmother, and found the entire block adjacent to their home destroyed. Somehow their house was spared, aside from the balcony door and one window that needed to be replaced. They are working hard to rebuild their lives; Mrs. Kantsurenko is searching for a job, which is difficult given the current economic situation. Mr. Kantsurenko works as a taxi driver, though the pay is low. He is expecting to be called up for military service any day. The family would be entirely without food and other necessities but for the aid provided by JRNU.
Kirill is a young boy from Mariupol who has been supported by JRNU since just after the invasion. Kirill and his mother Elena were forced to evacuate their home with little more than the clothes on their backs--the father/husband was away serving in the army. They were lucky to escape--undoubtedly they would have been killed in the rocket and missile attack that destroyed their apartment building. As luck would have it, Elena had gotten her driver’s license just one week before the invasion--that is how she managed to flee the city with her son, parents and brother. As the family resettled in Dnipro, in a small crowded flat, they lost touch with Kirill’s father who was captured with the Azov battalion. The prison where he was being held was bombed and they feared the worst. Fortunately father survived, but he remains in captivity.
In addition to the food and other aid we provide the family, Kirill has been receiving speech therapy and other services to address the effects of the severe trauma he has endured. Most recently he began working with a new specialist, trying a different course of treatment.
Kirill is one of thousands of children we support by addressing a variety of needs. Ivan, from Odessa, is hoping to attend college free of charge, but needs a math tutor to ensure a qualifying grade. Nikita, in Vinytsia, gets help with her Ukrainian history studies in order to be accepted into an institute of higher education. David, from Kamianske, gets help with English studies, and Nastia, from Pervomaysk has a math tutor. Our work continues, ensuring all members of the community, young and old, receive services and support they need.
Over the last few days, the war in Ukraine has intensified, with attacks in Pavlohrad, Uman, Kyiv, Dnipro and the Kherson Region. Apartments, houses, schools and shops have been destroyed, as well as transportation infrastructure and more.
The economic situation in Ukraine continues to worsen as well. The poverty rate increased from 5.5% before the war to 25% today--more than 7 million additional people don't have the means for daily survival. With unemployment at 36%, and inflation at 26.6%, the poverty rate is likely to increase, perhaps reaching as high as 55% by the end of the year.
These dire economic conditions affect people everywhere, particularly in rural villages. But even in cities like Kyiv, increasingly residents are selling personal belongings to buy food and other necessities.
One third of the 44 million Ukrainian people are internally displaced. More than 50,000 people rely on JRNU each month, for food, housing, and other daily necessities. Our help is needed now more than ever.
Twenty-five people died and more were injured from missile attacks in several Ukrainian cities this morning. Seventeen people including a child were killed in Uman, and a woman and her three-year-old daughter were killed in Dnipro. Please remember the people of Ukraine who continue to suffer and desperately need our help to save lives and restore hope.
Big problems are often best solved with a series of small solutions. The suffering in Ukraine is an immense problem, with millions of people displaced from their homes, separated from friends and family; rampant unemployment and high inflation; trauma, uncertainty, fear and exhaustion experienced by many individuals, especially children and the elderly. While there is no comprehensive solution to the situation, every day we address the needs of individuals and families, alleviating suffering and restoring hope. For $100 we feed a family of four for a month, $35 covers prescription medicine, $50 pays for a therapy session or medical procedure, and $250 ensures an elderly person has shelter and food. With your help we can continue to solve the problems in Ukraine, one day and one person at a time.
Eva, 2 years old, (Pictured left) lives in a small house in Pervomaisk with her mother, grandmother, and other family members. Months ago, her father left to serve in the war. Money became very tight as her mother had to stop work because she is expecting another child in June. Further complicating matters, her uncle suffers from cerebral palsy and requires constant care from her grandmother; he lives with the family as well. Despite it all, Eva is an inquisitive delightful child. JRNU supports the family with food and necessities of all types.
Anna, 33, from Kryvyi Rih, is married with one daughter. When the war started, Anna was 7 months pregnant. She was forcibly evacuated to Western Ukraine where she gave birth to her daughter. After a few months, she returned home where she and her husband, a long-distance truck driver, struggled to make ends meet. JRNU and the local community sustain Anna and her family as she cares for her young daughter.
Ivan, from Zhytomyr, receives urgent dental treatment and Andriy, from Kyiv, experiences a sensory room to enhance his development, both treatments were provided by JRNU.
Tonight we will count the 15th day of the Omer, grateful for the many blessings we enjoy and mindful of those who are suffering.
Our work in Ukraine continues, addressing the needs of people whose lives have been changed forever. Many have lost their homes and personal belongings. Separated from friends and family, without jobs and income. We are grateful for generous donors who sustain our operations, allowing us to provide food, medical care, lodging and support of all kinds. Here are a few of the people we helped this week. Please lend your support to these lifesaving efforts.
Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorates the tragic deaths of six million Jews; nearly one quarter of the victims were in Ukraine. Many elderly Jews in Ukrainian today lived through the horrific ordeal, while others lost family members and friends. Five hundred and twenty-one Holocaust survivors immigrated to Israel from Ukraine in the past year.
On the eve of war in 1941, Ukraine was home to one of the largest Jewish populations in Europe. Unlike what happened in Poland and other countries, in Ukraine the Jews were killed close to home, not deported to distant camps. One of the most infamous and unspeakable events of the war occurred on September 29 and 30, 1941, just outside Kyiv, at a place called Babi Yar: 33,771 Jews were massacred within 48 hours. The atrocities at Babi Yar continued throughout the war; it is estimated that 100,000 people, Jews and non-Jews, were murdered at this site.
We especially remember the people of Ukraine on Yom Hashoah, along with all the victims of the Holocaust, and survivors, children of survivors, and families of survivors throughout the world.
Read more about Yom Hashoah here
Thank you for bringing Passover to Ukraine! Generous individual and corporate donors provided more than 50,000 people a joyous and memorable Passover; and, importantly, a much-needed respite from the stress of the war.
We appreciate the trust you placed in Jewish Relief Network Ukraine (JRNU) to help those in need; your confidence is well placed. We delivered more than 17,350 food parcels and Seder supplies to 30,000 households (60 tons of matzah, 100 tons of chicken and meat, 42,000 bottles of grape juice, and more), and we hosted 142 communal Seders around the country. Our rabbis, staff and volunteers did not rest until the job was done!
We know there are many organizations soliciting donations, we thank you for choosing us! We look forward to continuing to earn your support in the future.
On behalf of the 50,000 people in Ukraine we support each month, and the leaders, staff and volunteers of JRNU, thank you!
Thanks to individuals in the United States, Israel, Brazil, Thailand, Australia, the UK and many other countries, Jewish families will attend Seders and celebrate the exodus. From Kharkov to Lviv, Odessa to Dnipro, and all the towns and villages in between, people will have Kosher food to eat throughout the holiday. Thousands of people have given generously to those they will never meet, whose names they will never know. The care and compassion displayed on this holiday and throughout the year sustains 50,000 Ukrainians, young and old, who have no one to turn to and no where to go. Together we will continue to save lives and restore hope. Thank you for your extraordinary support.
Brooks Goldstein, from Potomac, Maryland, is having a bar mitzvah in June. In the final months of his preparation, Brooks undertook a significant and meaningful mitzvah project to help people thousands of miles away. While he was not directly impacted by the war, Brooks was drawn to the plight of the Jews in Ukraine, and wanted to help any way he could. Brooks created a strategy to raise money from his friends, classmates, family, and the community. Determined to succeed, Brooks went door to door in his neighborhood talking about the situation in Ukraine. He set up tables with poster presentations to sell items at synagogue events. He even took Ukrainian souvenirs to sell at school.
Through his hard work, Brooks raised nearly $2,000 to support the Jews of Ukraine. We are grateful for his contribution and wish him all the best on his upcoming bar mitzvah!
There is no project too big or too small for our staff and volunteers in Ukraine! From importing 98 tons of meat and 70 tons of matzah for Passover, distributing 110,000 pairs of glasses, and delivering 17,360 kosher food parcels to support communities across the country; to issuing a grocery store voucher to an elderly woman and providing after school tutoring to young children. Our network of rabbis, social workers, deliverymen and much more understand the importance of delivering aid to those in need in a manner that conveys compassion and maintains dignity.
I am Svetlana, from Chernihiv. In the early days of the war, my two children and I spent many long and scary days hiding in the basement. My son once commented, "this is probably our last day." My children and I survived the invasion thanks to assistance from JRNU. The staff and volunteers helped us escape to Chernigov, where we have received physical, moral and emotional support: food, warm clothes, candles and gas burners, and most importantly kind and words and a caring tone.
My name is Snijana, I am 13 years old. I have a mother and a grandmother--my father died after not being able to withstand this difficult war. On February 24, we did not leave Kherson; we survived the occupation of the city thanks to JRNU staff who gave us food and clothes. We were so grateful when Kherson was liberated, and JRNU was still there to help us with everything we need. Thank you very much!
I am Ada, from the village of Malaya Rogan, in the Kharkiv Region. Our village was occupied by Russian troops in the first days of the war, as we watched with horror from our cellar. After 20 days, we packed our belongings, including my two cats. With my two daughters and sons-in-law, and my grandson, we left for nowhere. First, we were hosted by kind people in the Ternopil region, who gave us food and a place to sleep. But with no work available we had to move, this time to Kropyvnytskyi to stay with friends. The Jewish community there and JRNU have been incredible: I was hired into a job and provided all means of humanitarian aid for my family. It is difficult to imagine what it is like to leave your home without clothes and shoes — just grab the cats and not know what tomorrow will bring. My house is destroyed and I have nowhere to return. Knowing I can count on JRNU for my basic needs and the needs of my family, means more than you can imagine.
Hello, I live in Dnipro with my three children: the oldest is 9, the middle one is 5, and the youngest is 2 years old. I am raising the children alone. When war broke out, we did not leave the city because my dad is sick, and I have elderly grandparents who need my help. We haven't had big explosions in Dnipro like in other cities, but we did move from the Pobeda residential area, that was close to a power plant and two bridges that cross the Dnipro River. Now we rent an apartment in a safer area, and we have been fortunate to receive critical support from JRNU including warm blankets, candles, lamps, and items for the children. When we had no light for hours on end, we were not afraid because we had LED bracelets from JRNU. We are very grateful for all their amazing help and support.
The war has been particularly hard for older Ukrainians, many of whom lived through WWII or were born during that time and have endured difficult lives. With meager government pensions, most rely on family members and charity for food and other necessities; even prior to the war their situation was precarious. Nearly ½ of Ukrainian families live with an elderly relative.
Despite the dangers posed by the war, many older Ukrainians are reluctant to leave their homes. Villagers converted their cellars to shelters, stock up on firewood and collect rain water. Those who were forced to relocate inside Ukraine often found the temporary accommodations not suitable for their disabilities, and they have difficulty getting around.
Medical and mental health issues are particularly acute among the elderly population. Fear, loss and isolation combined with food shortages that interfere with proper diets pose special difficulties for individuals with sight and hearing loss, limited mobility, hypertension and diabetes. The Babushkas are suffering, we are doing all we can to help!
JRNU continues to take extra precautions to assist and support the elderly members of the community. Deliveries of firewood, food and medicine; arrangements and transport for medical and mental health appointments; providing heaters and replacing boilers; and much more! Our leaders, staff and volunteers take a holistic approach to the needs of the older and infirm members of the community. With the upcoming Passover holiday, special care will be taken to ensure each and every person is able to partake in a Seder and share a taste of freedom.
For the past few months, rabbis, staff and volunteers have been working hard to bring Passover to Ukraine! With 18,000 food parcels prepared and 142 communal Seders planned, 50,000 Ukrainians across the country will celebrate the full meaning of this important holiday.
Thanks to generous donors and sponsors, we filled our warehouse with matzah, grape juice, meat, and other Seder items. Huge deliveries were received of fish, fruits, vegetables, oil, coffee, tea, and chocolate! We loaded up trucks and delivered these essential Passover goods to Jewish communities everywhere, big and small. Even families in remote villages will receive a Seder kit and food parcel, thanks to the tireless efforts of dedicated rabbis and staff. This Passover the Jews of Ukraine will enjoy a brief respite from the travails of war as they celebrate this season of our freedom.
Kryvyi Rih, an industrial city in the Dnipro Region of Central Ukraine, is home to thousands of Jews who comprise the area's largest ethnic minority. Despite fears immediately after the war began, the city was not invaded, but there were frequent missile strikes. Over the past year, Jewish Relief Network Ukraine has continued to support the community, that is home to President Zelensky's family (the President was born and raised in Kryvyi Rih). Food and medicine have been distributed on a regular basis, along with winter emergency kits, clothes, holiday packages and more! At the large local school and kindergarten, important safety renovations were made, including installation of a large generator. Children returned to their classrooms this fall where they receive much needed emotional support in addition to academic instruction. Afterschool programs provide the children with food and warmth throughout the winter months, as many homes have only intermittent power.
As we prepare for the Passover holiday, 400 food packages will be distributed to families in Kryvyi Rih, where Kosher food is not available this year. For all 8 days of Passover, families will have meat, fruits and vegetables, coffee and tea and more! In addition, hundreds of Seder kits will be shared, with matzah, grape juice, chicken and all the ceremonial items needed to ensure every Jew is able to enjoy this important holiday that celebrates exodus and freedom.
JRNU needs your help to continue our efforts to support the Jews in Kryvyi Rih and all across Ukraine. Together we can save lives and restore hope.
Humanitarian aid is provided to Ukrainians in cities, towns and villages, all across the country. Igor Braverman from the Zhmerinsky District expressed his gratitude for the Purim package he received from JRNU.
In Jerusalem, Shlomi Peles, CEO of JRNU along with several Shluchim from Ukraine including Shmuel Kaminetzky, from Dnipro, Shlomo Wilhelm from Zhitomir, and Avraham and Chaya Wolff from Odessa, participated in a panel discussion at the Knesset hosted by the Diaspora Ministry. The purpose of the event was to discuss the massive humanitarian relief effort underway for the past year in Ukraine, and the need for additional support as the war continues. One of the highlights of the meeting was Chaya Wolff’s recalling the Mishpacha Orphanage rescue operation in the early days of the war.
The shluchim described the incredible dedication of JRNU and Chabad shluchim to keep the Jewish communities alive and restore hope.
Rabbi Wolff of Odessa: "The synagogue was not closed for even one day, every day there were Shacharit, Mincha and Arabic services. The school was not closed either; kids come to school daily in comfortable transportation, enjoy organized studies, hot and satisfying meals, and of course, during the alarms go down to bright, clean and warm shelters. When the power goes out, the generator automatically turns on. The children don't even feel the difference... Only those who drive home in the evening and arrive at a cold and dark house, and have to keep their coat on even when they go to bed.”
"We are optimistic, full of hope that with God's help we will be granted a miracle and the war will end, as surprisingly as it began. In the meantime, we celebrate all the holidays, not giving up an opportunity to rejoice and add light and warmth.”
Adrian Maydanich, a high schooler from Baltimore, is showing Ukrainians that his family has not forgotten from whence they came! The son of immigrants from Kyiv and Lviv, respectively, Adrian was determined to rally the local Jewish community to support his mission of bringing Passover to Ukraine.
"My family is proud of our heritage and religion, and we celebrate our triumphs through adversity and the fulfillment of our 'American Dream.' [A] few weeks ago, I realized that Ukrainian Jews need support with the most basic of needs during this time of devastating war. I immediately thought of my heritage and my religion — the most crucial facets in shaping my character — and I thought, 'Why not me? Why not take it upon myself to support these causes?'"
Adrian's determination and hard work paid off. His video and news article combined with speeches and personal outreach have inspired people to donate nearly $14,000 over the past few weeks. This money will provide an entire community in Ukraine with Seder kits and kosher meals for the entire Passover holiday.
Thank you Adrian Maydanich!
Click here to support the campaign.
Just before Passover last year, Rabbi Mendy Wolff and his wife relocated 120 children and staff from the Mishpacha orphanage in Odessa to a hotel in Berlin, to keep them safe from the war. The temporary relocation was expected to last just a few days—the kids took nothing more than a few changes of clothes. Sadly, conditions in Ukraine did not improve and the orphanage remained in Berlin for a year. The costs of renting an entire hotel to house the children and other Odessians including single mothers and children, became too much, even with generous donors and help from the German Government. As the staff planned their returned to Odessa—with kids looking forward to sleeping in their own beds and being in familiar surroundings, JRNU was busy preparing the facilities. During the year-long absence of the Mishpacha orphanage, the building was used to provide refugees with shelter and meals. Thanks to our supporters from around the world, we replaced every mattress and pillow, and cleaned every nook and cranny of the building. It was heartwarming to see the children with smiling faces as they returned to their fresh and welcoming home. We pray that the city remains safe for the children as the war continues. Whatever the future holds, the Wolff family and JRNU will continue to look after the children to ensure their health and welfare.
The need for humanitarian relief in Ukraine remains high, as the war rages on, now in the 13th month. We continue to provide food, medicine, warm clothing and more to people across the country.
Thanks to our partner, World of Giving, a charitable organization in New York, we recently provided outerwear to medical professionals who provide emergency care, including through disaster relief missions. The pants and coats supplied by World of Giving are brightly colored and highly durable, thereby ensuring aid workers are visible to their colleagues and protected from the elements as they render lifesaving support to people in need.
We are grateful to World of Giving and all of our partners for helping to support the people of Ukraine.
Thanks to our generous donors, people all across Ukraine were able to celebrate Purim.
This evening, Jews around the world will eat Hamenstachen, dress their children in costumes, shake noisemakers, and celebrate the courage and bravery of Queen Esther. In some places carnivals will be held (poster pictured below was prepared by a Bar Mitzvah boy for a carnival in Potomac Maryland).
For many Jews, the holiday of Purim involves more than reading the biblical Book of Esther (the "megillah")--it is a time to share with others, give baskets of treats to friends, and food to the poor. Thanks to generous donors, JRNU provided 100,000 gift packages to the Jews of Ukraine, allowing them to celebrate with millions of Jews in the United States, Israel, Europe and elsewhere. Chag Sameach!
A recent survey of 2,000 Ukrainian mothers from all regions of the country revealed disturbing facts:
• Since the start of the war, the number of children doing poorly in school has climbed seven-fold.
• In December 2022, school studies were interrupted almost every day or several times a week by air raid sirens (68%), blackouts (60%), no internet service (57%), no heat (17%), or lack of a teacher (8%).
• Parental report of child mental health indicates an overall decline. When comparing pre-war to now, data show a decrease from 35% to 11% of those reporting very good mental health.
• Children in front-line regions are experiencing a fifteen-fold increase in mental health issues since the invasion; those in Kyiv a seven-fold increase over the same period.
More than 5 million Ukrainian children have been displaced by the war; some left the country while other relocated inside Ukraine, including within rocket-distance of the war. Sadly, 28% of kids have been separated from a family member in the past year, and 24% experienced some form of shelling or bombing. Thankfully children are resilient and adapt to new surroundings, but thousands of Ukrainian children are showing signs of anxiety, depression and even post-traumatic stress disorder; many children now feel the world is an unsafe place.
Jewish Relief Network Ukraine is helping children. Thanks to generous donors and supporters, we are providing daily necessities and much more: food, clothes, medicine, medical, dental and mental health care, toys, school supplies and holiday treats! We will continue to support families and children throughout the war and beyond.
Sources: USA Today
The health care system in Ukraine continues to function, but is inaccessible to many people. Spiraling costs combined with logistical hurdles and damaged infrastructure make it difficult for individuals to obtain essential products and services. According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 5 people are not able to get the medicine they need for critical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart conditions, and pain; they also lack needed sedatives and antibiotics; 1 in every 3 adults sought primary care and ½ of them reported at least one barrier to accessing care, cost being the most common.
JRNU bridges the gap for thousands of Ukrainians, ensuring they receive the medicine and medical care they need, including mental health services.
Trauma, sadness, fear, exhaustion, loss, and anger. Those are just some of the emotions triggered by the one year anniversary of the war in Ukraine. Countless lives have been lost and even more irreparably damaged.
Generosity, bravery, compassion, kindness, those too are words that come to mind today. People in Ukraine and around the world have exhibited extraordinary heroism and support for Ukrainians -- in most cases people they have never met and whose names they will never know.
It has been a privilege for JRNU to partner with organizations and individuals who displayed time and again, their devotion and commitment to helping others. We are proud of the work we have done, and hope that very soon the needs will change from emergency rescue and relief to long term rebuilding and refortifying. Whatever the need, JRNU will be there for the people of Ukraine.
While Artem Simonov is away fighting in the war, his wife and daughter Kamilla are home in Kamianske. During Artem’s recent visit home, he went grocery shopping with his daughter, a first grader, using a JRNU provided supermarket voucher. Kamilla had a great time picking out treats and goodies to lift her spirits. While Artem is away JRNU takes good care of his family, ensuring they have sufficient food, winter clothing, and more.
With the anniversary just days away, we highlight our ongoing relief work.
On March 6th, ws around the world will celebrate Purim, one of the most joyous holidays of the year. Children will enjoy carnivals with cookies and other treats, costumes and noisemakers; families will participate in reading the epic tale of kings, queens, evil doers and heroes! Baskets of food will be shared with people all around the world as Jews fulfill their mitzvah of giving mishloach manot (portions of food) to friends, family, and those in need. This wonderful tradition intended to ensure everyone has enough food for the Purim and foster friendship and caring among community member, is desperately needed in Ukraine! JRNU is delivering Purim baskets to people all across Ukraine, filled with food, treats, storybooks and more—we are also delivering encouragement and hope for better days to come! Lend your support for this heartwarming project.
The people of Ukraine, old and young, continue to rely on us for help. Throughout the country we provide humanitarian aid of all kinds.
In Kamianske, a boy receives urgent dental care.
In Poltava and Dnipro warm clothes and blankets are provided, and some special items (small toys) are included for the children.
In Chernivitsi food and medicine is distributed.
In Zaporizhzhia, medication packages are supplied.
As we approach the one year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, new challenges continue to emerge. Thanks to generous donors from all over the world, industrial generators are supplying heat and power to thousands of Ukrainians. Community centers, schools, synagogues and other communal buildings are relying on generator power for at least 2 hours each day. At an average operating cost of $30 per hour (fuel), the expense for the 150 generators supplied by JRNU approaches $500,000 each month! The demand for good and services among the people of Ukraine continues to increase as more and more people are unemployed, and have depleted all savings and emergency funds. The food, medicine, clothing, and shelter provided by JRNU are essential--our support is saving lives.
For the past 11 months the people of Ukraine have struggled to maintain their families, their homes and their lives. The winter cold has exacerbated the problem; the need for food, medicine, clothing, and warmth intensified. Thanks to generous donors, JRNU has continued to support tens of thousands of men, women and children in big cities and small towns. In the weeks ahead we will be distributing 50,000 pairs of eyeglasses, to be followed by Purim packages, and then Passover kits.
Please help us continue our lifesaving work.
Ten tons of Matzah arrived at our warehouse in Kyiv, with much more to come. We are amassing items for Seder kits and food packages for 35,000 people in Ukraine.
An update on Kirill, the boy from Mariupol who with his mother fled their home with little more than the clothes on their backs. They resettled in Dnipro while the father was away at war with the Azov battalion that was captured. After months of worry and uncertainty Kirill and his mother learned that father survived the bombing of the prison and remains in captivity. JRNU provides extensive support including speech therapy and other services to address the developmental impact of the trauma Kirill endured.
Galina, 70, from the village of Vinogradovo near Uzhhorod, survived a traumatic ordeal long before the war. In 2003, drug addicts set fire to her house and threw her onto a hot stove. For the past 20 years she has been living with complete strangers, barely getting by. JRNU provides her with food, warm clothing and blankets and much more to improve Galina's quality of life.
Little Eva from Kyiv and her family lack funds for food and other necessities. Like thousands of other children, Eva has suffered emotional trauma from the war, resulting in panic attacks and other symptoms. JRNU arranges for a psychologist to treat Eva on a regular basis to facilitate a return to her happy childhood.
In honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which marks the date Auschwitz was liberated in 1945, we bring you stories of Ukrainian Jewish survivors.
90-year-old Olexandra lives alone in Chernihiv (pictured to the left). When the war started, the houses trembled from explosions and glass fell-- she couldn't believe that this was happening in her life again. Olexandra went to the pump with a small bottle, and stood in line with hundreds of people to get water. JRNU volunteers who were delivering medications and food to others, found the grandmother in the basement, where she and her neighbors were hiding from shelling. With tears in her eyes, the frightened woman spoke about the trauma from the second world war that was rekindled in the current crisis. JRNU now provides daily meals, medication and care for Olexandra.
In Israel, JRNU CEO Shlomi Peles and his team met with Rabbi and Rebbetzin Kaminezki, of Dnipro, to discuss the pressing needs in Dnipro and throughout Ukraine. As we approach the one-year anniversary of the war, the demand for support continues to increase, while resources become more difficult to obtain. Rabbi Kaminezki, along with other leaders of JRNU, staff and volunteers live in the communities alongside the individuals we serve, and they know first-hand the day-to-day challenges of life in Ukraine. It is this boots-on-the-ground perspective, coupled with generous support from our partners and donors that allows JRNU to continue to provide services and support to tens of thousands of Ukrainians each month.
Every day we help the people of Ukraine, in big cities and small towns, old and young! We prepare hot meals and deliver them to people who can't leave their homes; we share notes of encouragement from caring donors along with toys and books for kids; we distribute reflector bands to keep people safe at night, and we provide winter clothes and blankets to keep people warm. Thanks to our generous partners and donors, the Jews of Ukraine know they are not forgotten.
You may remember Masha who we first wrote about shortly after the war began. Unfortunately, her life has not gotten any easier. We continue to provide support and care for Masha, as we do for thousands of other Ukrainians; their struggles continue with no end in sight.
Masha, aged 10, has been raised by her single mother under difficult conditions her whole life. She lived in a dilapidated house with no heat, located in a dangerous neighborhood. Masha had no toys and few clothes; even regular meals were lacking. Shortly after the war broke out, Masha was evacuated to Mykolayiv where her grandparents live. They are able to provide emotional support, but they lack the means for necessities such as food, warm blankets or heat in the home. JRNU stepped in to help!
Thanks to your support, we are able to provide for Masha as well as thousands of people in similar situations. Together we will ensure no one is left behind!
This weekend brought much tragedy to Ukraine. A nine-story apartment block in Dnipro was destroyed killing at least five people and injuring 60, including 12 children. Twenty people have been rescued but more are believed to be trapped in the rubble. In the city of Kryvyi Rih, 50 houses, three schools, two kindergartens, apartment buildings and an administrative building were damaged in a missile strike, killing one person and injuring another; no additional information is available regarding casualties.
We continue to work around the clock to provide aid and assistance to the people of Ukraine and our thoughts and prayers are with them always.
Generous caring people continue to sustain the Jews of Ukraine. The temperatures in Chernivitsi and other places in Ukraine have dropped to -7°C outside; inside many homes it's nearly as cold, with no heat and no power. Thanks to your continued support, JRNU is able to help, providing people warm places to gather and winter clothing of all kinds including hats, gloves and socks. Hundreds of items were collected from schools in Long Island and Great Neck, NY; Bryn Mawr, PA; and the Jewish community in Detroit. These items were shipped to our partner organization, World of Giving Inc., in New York, who arranged to have the boxes shipped to Ukraine along with other items they collected for us.
On behalf of the Jews of Ukraine, a big "thank you" to the North Shore Hebrew Academy, the Jack M Barrack Hebrew Academy, the Schechter School of Long Island, the Detroit Jewish community and World Of Giving. Working together we ensure no one is left behind.
Our unique vantage point from inside the communities allows us to see the faces of the crisis in Ukraine - the woman in Chernihiv who relies on our vouchers to purchase groceries, and her peer in Zhitomir who needed lights. The entire communities in Odessa and Kyiv turn to us for power and warmth in their community centers and schools, and in Mykolyiv we provide fresh water.
Our staff and volunteers are working around the clock to deliver medicine to nearly 11,000 people, food to 25,000 people, and winter items of all kinds to more than 30,000 people. From industrial generators and fresh water wells to food parcels and hot meals, we are taking care of the Jews of Ukraine, from our hands to theirs, ensuring no one is left behind.
The power supply in Ukraine has become highly unreliable over the past few months, just in time for the frigid winter months. The country now relies on generators for heat and power of all kinds. Foreign countries and non-government organizations have stepped in to help: according to news reports, Israel donated 17 units, UNICEF gave 14, Germany promised 470 (of which 150 have been delivered), and France gave 100. The demand for generators has far outpaced supply and it is virtually impossible to have any new ones delivered before Spring. Fortunately, JRNU identified the need early on and already secured 150 units, mostly large industrial types. These generators are powering communal buildings of all kinds including community centers, schools, and synagogues where people from the entire town or village gather for shelter, warm meals and to charge their electronic devices. This week 5 new units were installed in Chernivitsi and Rovno.
In addition to these lifesaving efforts, JRNU continues to support Ukrainians in a variety of other ways, supplying medicine, food, warm clothes, blankets and more. Over the past few weeks, reflective bands and straps were distributed to citizens to protect them from traffic fatalities while out in the dark cities at night.
Thanks to JRNU's boots-on-the-ground presence in Ukraine we are uniquely able to identify the most urgent needs and address them quickly and effectively. We are helping people all across Ukraine, in the largest cities and the most remote villages. Our current challenge is to secure sufficient funding to cover the cost of fuel and connection fees for the generators.
Your donations will allow us to continue the lifesaving work we do in Ukraine. Together we will ensure no one is left behind.
The war in Ukraine has left a lot of people without access to critical medications. Before the war, the cost of medicine was declining and access to medical care was improving; but that all changed.
According to a World Health Organization survey, the medicines most difficult to obtain have included those for high blood pressure (49%), heart conditions (49%), pain (41%), sedatives (33%) and antibiotics (32%). The main reasons for not getting medicine included the increased price of medicine (84%) and the unavailability of medicines at the pharmacy (46%).
Throughout the war, JRNU has coordinated with medical providers, pharmacies and donors, to address these shortages. Our partner, Americares sent 4 containers of critical supplies into Ukraine, including penicillin, prenatal vitamins, bandages, emergency treatment kits, IV fluids, wound care supplies and more. These items have saved thousands of lives all across the country.
JRNU maintains a database with more then 10,000 individuals we regularly serve with prescription and non-prescription medications to address a broad range of maladies. All items are provided at no cost to the Ukrainians, thanks to generous donors.
The past 10 months have been extremely difficult for the people of Ukraine, and the daily struggles continue. We pray for an end to the crisis and remain steadfast in our commitment to the Ukrainian people. We were supporting the Jews in Ukraine before the first rocket landed, and we will be there long after the last soldier leaves.
The lifesaving work we did together in 2022 will continue in 2023--thanks to you! Evacuations, food, medicine, lodging, generators, school renovations, winter clothing, and more. Your support allows us to help 50,000 people each month. We are grateful for the opportunity to make a positive difference and ensure no one is left behind.
Little Yana was happy to get a new pair of glasses! Her parents could no longer afford to take proper care of her eyesight, after losing their jobs and exhausting their savings.
Zinaida, 84, has little chance to rest, with the constant sirens; she is extremely grateful for food and other essentials we provide.
Warm blankets have been lifesaving, especially for the elderly.
The joy of a child warms the hearts of everyone--so desperately needed after months of suffering.
Medical supplies are sent to clinics around the country to provide everything from prenatal care, to treatment for chronic conditions, to the flu.
Little Maya Arseniy from Chernivtsi receiving a treatment at dentist’s. The family has three kids and this care is a great support for them
Food parcels distributed to communities, such as these in Mykolayiv, are sometimes the only source of nourishment for people, especially during the frigid winter weather.
The needs of the Ukrainian people are increasing as the cold weather intensifies. As soon as we learn of an infirm elderly individual, a hungry couple, a family in need, or an expecting mother, we respond immediately to assist.
Warm blankets delivered to ladies of the Chernivtsi community where the weather is cold and heating is sporadic.
Matching blankets to warm up a young brother and sister in Khmelnytski.
The Zilberman’s from Chernihiv, a couple in their 80’s with no family for support receives a much needed food package.
Zhytomyr, the Center for Prenatal Care, receives a medical supplies, made possible by our partner, Americares.
The people of Ukraine endure great hardships with continued widespread power outages and missile attacks. Their determination and fortitude is remarkable—we continue to support them with food, medicine, shelter, medical and mental health care, winter survival and lots of compassion and encouragement!
Tatiana from the village of Stepove receives wood to heat her home (pictured on the left).
Young Bohdan from Chernihiv receives medications to treat his chronic disease; his family has no means to pay for these critical drugs.
Vlad from Cherkassy receives much needed speech therapy to address his developmental issues.
Bella Isaakovna, 69, lives in Kropyvnytskyi, Ukraine, a city that was largely unaffected by the war for many months. But today, virtually every city in Ukraine is dangerous, and the residents live in fear. Bella, the daughter of a holocaust survivor, remembers her father’s many stories of the traumatic experiences during World War II. Until recently, these stories seemed like ancient history, with little relevance to present times. The missile strikes and bombings in Kropyvnytskyi changed all that. Bella, and other elderly residents, run to the basement each time they hear threats of missile strikes; she is afraid to leave her home even for groceries or medicine. The staff and volunteers of JRNU have been a lifeline to Bella, delivering food packages and prescription drugs, and providing support and encouragement.
Bella and her neighbors and friends struggle to get through each day, hoping and praying for a peaceful resolution to the ongoing crises. With your continued support, JRNU will ensure that Bella and all the Jews of Ukraine know they are not alone and not forgotten.
Everyone in Ukraine, young and old, needs light and hope in these dark days. In Uzhhorod, hundreds of displaced families were overjoyed to receive Chanukah boxes, a symbol of past holidays celebrated in their homes.
Children are happy to receive comforters and blankets to keep them warm!
Many homes are without heat and the temperatures are dangerously cold. Portable heaters like this one provided to a woman in Mykolayiv are saving lives.
Candles, flashlights, power banks and battery-operated heaters are invaluable items; we are providing tens of thousands of each!
The dedicated staff and volunteers who make our work possible find a way to carry on their critical humanitarian work! In Mykolayiv, with no power, lists and schedules are completed in near darkness.
Thank you for making sure the Jews of Ukraine know they are not alone and not forgotten. Together we will continue to provide food, medicine, shelter, warm clothes and more!
Every day in Ukraine is full of stress, waiting for the next bomb to drop. We are providing individuals with psychological support in addition to regular supplies of food and medicine.
Many people like this woman below struggle to live day to day with no running water; the well we dug in Mykoliav is a help, but it is not enough!
Families spend long hours in bomb shelters, a challenge even for grown-ups who can make sense of the situation. This family is fortunate to have a shelter of their own, but the cold and dark is difficult and scary for people of all ages.
Schools continue to educate children, despite continual power outages and frequent emergency sirens. It is imperative that the children have some sense of normalcy and connection to the world, beyond their war-torn country full of dark and dread.
With your help we continue to support the people of Ukraine and ensure no one is left behind.
Jews around the world are celebrating the first night of Chanukah, grateful for light and warmth in our lives, and for the blessings bestowed upon us daily. We are also mindful of the difficulties and struggles of the Jews in Ukraine, who lack light and warmth on a daily basis, but who are are blessed, nonetheless, with support from fellow Jews all around the world.
Each night when we light candles and say prayers, let us take a moment to think of the Jews in Ukraine and remain steadfast in our commitment to help them. Let us also pray for a resolution to the current crisis and for strength to rebuild the Jewish communities.
Every Jew in Ukraine, young and old, needs light and warmth this Chanukah!
Ten months of war has taken a toll physically, emotionally, and spiritually. JRNU rabbis, staff and volunteers are delivering 40,000 boxes of special Chanukah items: dreidels, coloring books and gelt for the kids, along with menorahs, chocolate and instruction books. In some cities public menorahs are being lit and community celebrations are held, and in other places families will celebrate alone or in small groups, with visitors from JRNU and the local Jewish community to add festivity, support and encouragement.
As a humanitarian organization, we must take care of people’s hearts and souls in addition to providing food, water, medicine and shelter. For some families, the Chanukah boxes are almost as important as the winter coats, flashlights and power banks! Adults and kids have endured unimaginable trauma for months on end--the joy on children’s faces when they receive the Chanukah packages lights rooms and brings warmth to everyone! Celebrating Chanukah as Jews have done for centuries allows Ukrainians to feel supported and connected to Jews around the world; it reminds them they are not alone or forgotten.
Please join us in continuing to support the Jews of Ukraine.
“It seems like the rest of the world has already forgotten about us.”-- Jewish Community Members in Odessa
On Monday evening, leaders and members of the Detroit Jewish and Ukrainian communities came together to show the people of Ukraine they are not forgotten! The event served as a reminder of the continued crises in Ukraine and to raise funds for Jewish Relief Network Ukraine.
In addition to speakers and videos, the program included recording a Unity Message, complete with yellow and blue light sticks, that will be shared with Jewish communities throughout Ukraine.
Presenters included Ody Norkin from East Lansing, who has personally delivered ambulances and medical equipment to Ukraine, Sam Rozenberg from Detroit, who has facilitated shipment to Ukraine of winter clothes and supplies of all kinds, and Ethan Gross, the event organizer, who visited Ukraine last month and provided assistance to the Mishpacha orphanage in Ukraine and the Jewish community in Odessa. Ethan also facilitated a campaign at his shul, Bais Chabad Torah Center, that raised thousands of dollars for JRNU. Rabbi Mendel Moskovitz provided a video message regarding the impact the war has had on him and thousands of other Ukrainian Jews, and Judi Garrett shared information about the work of JRNU.
We are grateful for the support of the people of Detroit who are ensuring the people of Ukraine know they are not forgotten.
More than 30 tons of much needed winter clothing is being distributed to the people of Ukraine, thanks to Chabad UK, the Orthodox Union, the United Synagogue, Jewish Futures and JGift. As the temperatures continue to drop and power supplies are interrupted, the warm clothing and blankets are saving thousands of lives!
Asya Moiseevna, a 78 year old woman in Chernihiv, has received food and medicine from JRNU throughout the war. As winter approached, Asya feared she would not have hot water and would struggle to survive the cold weather. JRNU staff purchased and installed a boiler for Asya, and they did the same for many other individuals, ensuring they would have hot water through the cold winter months.
With your support we will continue to buy generators, winter survival kits, warm clothes and other items needed to help people survive the winter.
Thanks to Schmerling Chocolate, thousands of Ukrainian children will have something to smile about this Chanukah! Nearly 2,000 pounds of chocolate was donated to JRNU and will be used to create special holiday packages; other donated items such as strawberry filled cupcakes and peanut butter cups will be included as well. For many children there is little to smile about this year--they have been in the cold and dark with limited power and internet, separated from family and loved ones--lots of children even lost their homes. This Chanukah, the tradition of giving tzedakah (charity) has new meaning for all of us; we are doing what we can to show the children of Ukraine they are not forgotten.
Americares is a health-focused relief organization that saves lives and improves the health of individuals affected by poverty or natural disasters. For healthy individuals, war and its consequences are difficult, but for those with health conditions, it is even more challenging as it disrupts access to medical supplies and medical treatment.
At the start of the war in Ukraine, Americares responded immediately to our requests for support; within days they made arrangements to ship an entire container of critical supplies including penicillin, prenatal vitamins, bandages and emergency treatment kits, IV fluids, wound care supplies, and more. These life-saving supplies were received by the Jewish Medical Center in Dnipro, one of the largest hospitals in the country which serves tens of thousands of individuals.The supplies were then shared with other clinics and hospitals around the country. The supplies were quickly depleted and within weeks Americares sent a second shipment of supplies, and then a third that arrived in the nick of time! The winter season has created even more health challenges for many individuals and the aid from Americares is having a tremendous impact, everyday.
Since the war began, Americares has sent over 242 tons of medicine and medical supplies valued at over $48 million to health facilities throughout Ukraine. The generosity and efficiency of Americares has resulted in tens of thousands of lives saved and suffering averted. We are grateful to Americares for their ongoing generous support.
On this day created to unleash the power of people to transform communities and the world, please help the people of Ukraine -- no amount is too big or too small.
More than 50,000 look to us for daily support: food, shelter, medicine, medical care, heat, clothing, schools and much more.
Peanut Proud donated 35,000 jars of peanut butter to the people of Ukraine through JRNU partner World of Giving. This essential food item arrived in the nick of time, as Ukrainians across the country are having to choose between heat and nourishment. We are distributing the jars to tens of thousands of men, women and children throughout Ukraine who are grateful for the support and are glad to know they are not forgotten.
Happy Thanksgiving! We wish everyone a wonderful day with friends and/or family, sharing gratitude for all that is good in our lives! We know that like us, you are remembering the people of Ukraine who are suffering mightily under conditions that are worsening by the minute. The lack of power and communication combined with frigid cold has imperiled thousands of lives. From all across the country we continue to receive distressing reports from our leaders, staff and volunteers: in Kyiv they are being told to evacuate as the outages are expected to continue for 36 hours, and in Dnipro elderly people are being moved into the community center so they don't freeze to death. We are working around the clock going door to door to conduct wellness checks, and distributing aid and providing assistance everywhere possible. The generators we have delivered are the only source of heat and power in many locations, and we are doing everything possible to secure more equipment and supplies including food, portable stoves, and warm clothing. We are so grateful to all of our partners and supporters who make it possible for us to help the Jews of Ukraine. We are grateful too, for all of your thoughts and prayers today and everyday.
The residents of Kherson have been struggling for weeks, with no access to water or power. Today JRNU delivered 20 tons of food and life saving supplies; not a moment too soon, as most of the country is in the cold and dark.
Yesterday, chief rabbis from Jewish communities across Ukraine and JRNU leaders, were hosted by philanthropist George Rohr, President of NCH Capital, Inc., for a meeting with representatives from the United Jewish Appeal Federation of New York, including Chief Executive Officer Eric Goldstein. The rabbis shared first hand experiences from the ongoing crises in Ukraine; Rabbi David Eliezrie, Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency provided valuable context. Throughout the war, UJA and Mr. Rohr have been incredible partners of JRNU, funding food and supplies along with holiday packages and much more. Without the support of generous partners like these, tens of thousands of people in Ukraine would be hungry and now, cold.
In recently liberated Kherson, the damage to the infrastructure is so severe that people are forced to collect rain water to drink and bathe. Fearing the population will not be able to survive the winter without regular access to power and water, the Ukrainian Government is evacuating residents to other, less dangerous parts of the country. While the government is offering transportation, accommodation and medical care, JRNU is welcoming all displaced people into community centers around the country and providing food, warm clothing and much needed support of all kinds.
JRNU received a third shipment of essential medication and medical supplies from our partner Americares. The shipment arrived to a dark warehouse. Like much of the country, there was no power and no mobile phone service. The residents of Odessa, have been without power for more than 30 hours, and counting. Temperature: 35 degrees Fahrenheit at night, 49 during the day.
We are grateful to our many partners around the country who are hosting coat drives for the people of Ukraine! Schools and synagogues from Washington State to New York have graciously offered to coordinate Bar and Bat Mitzvah projects, Chesed committee initiatives and school-wide campaigns. Some are collecting new clothing and winter accessory items while others are making purchases from our Amazon Wish List. World of Giving Charitable Organization in New York is collecting the items at their warehouse and will ship them to us along with food and other humanitarian aid they are providing for us. With the cold setting in and much of Ukraine without power, these items are needed now more than ever to ensure people survive the winter!
Please lend your support by purchasing a coat or hat, long pants or a a blanket, from our Amazon wish list; or feel free to choose an item of your liking--anything warm will be very much appreciated!
Meet the Chepiga family (pictured here) from the Donetsk region. They moved to the city of Kropivnitsky, in May, when it became too dangerous to stay in their home. They asked one of their neighbors to care for their farm animals while they were away. A week later the neighbor was killed and the animals eventually died. In June, the Chepiga's were welcomed into one of JRNU’s community centers that had been converted into temporary housing. Their hopes of one day returning home were dashed when they received news that their house was destroyed and belongings stolen by looters. They are grateful for the support from JRNU that has sustained them during this difficult time.
The city of Mykolaiv (Nikolaev), located in Southern Ukraine on the Southern Bug River, is a major shipbuilding center of Ukraine due to its proximity to the Black Sea.
Nikolaev has a rich history of Jews dating back to the 19th century when Jews were banned from living east of the Dnieper River. By the end of the 19th century, the city was home to 20,000 Jews, 14 synagogues, and 15 Jewish schools. It is also the birthplace of the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.
Today the people of Nikolaev are struggling to access clean water after missiles ruptured two pipelines that supplied water to the city. It is not possible to restore pipelines while the war is ongoing. JRNU staff and volunteers are digging a well to provide a ready source of water, eliminating the need for people to travel long distances for this critical resource needed to survive.
We are grateful for support from Chabad UK, the Orthodox Union, the United Synagogue, Jewish Futures and JGift for launching a winter campaign on behalf of the people of Ukraine. The items they are collecting, including sleeping bags, mobile chargers, thermoses, winter clothes and more, are very much needed by the 35,000 people we are supporting, in communities around the country. All donations are most welcome! Together we can ensure no one is left behind.
Check out Ethan's blog for live updates from Ukraine! After raising thousands of dollars for JRNU, Ethan travelled to Berlin and to Odessa to see first hand the critical humanitarian work we are doing. Ethan Gross, JD, is CEO of Globe Midwest Adjusters International, the largest public adjusting firm in the Midwest and an active member of the Detroit Jewish Community.
Leaders from North America, Europe and Israel are gathered to explore the complex issues facing Jewish communities. Rabbi Mendel Moskovitz of JRNU provided detailed up to date information about the situation in Ukraine and the critical work we are doing to support the tens of thousands of Jews who remain there, particularly as we prepare for the harsh winter. Rabbi Moskovitz and leaders from several other organizations providing humanitarian aid in Ukraine emphasized the unprecedented degree of collaboration among the agencies and the need to continue to work together in the future.
Rabbi Moskovitz thanked JFNA for their ongoing significant financial support for our work, on behalf of JRNU and all the Jewish communities of Ukraine.
JRNU sustains more than 1,000 people with hot nutritious meals. Many of the individuals are elderly, or suffer with health issues or disabilities. These meals are part of our comprehensive food program that includes grocery store vouchers and food packages. JRNU volunteers deliver meals and packages to people who are unable to leave their homes, and seek out those who are unable to find assistance on their own.
We currently operate 15 different soup kitchens throughout Ukraine. As people evacuate from more dangerous areas into safer parts of the country, they are provided food and other support from JRNU at our many community centers and other distribution sites.
Our staff and volunteers continue to work around the clock to ensure that no one is left behind!
Recently JRNU has been busy helping people celebrate the High Holidays. We also continue to provide humanitarian support to all those in need, like Grigoriy, 93 years old and suffering from several medical conditions. His medications cost more than he or his daughters can afford. Over the last several months, Grigoriy’s two daughters have lost a substantial portion of their income, making it very difficult to support their father. Thankfully, JRNU has been able to provide Grigoriy with the medication and other support he needs.
With your help, we can ensure that no one is left behind!
Vladimir Alexandrovich, 85, and his wife Nonna Leonidovna, 80, were evacuated in March when the war arrived in Kharkov. Along with their children and grandson, the couple moved to Kropyvnytskyi temporarily. Sadly, the elderly couple hoped that their time in Kropyvnytskyi would be temporary. Sadly, both their son’s house and grandson’s apartment were destroyed, and there is no place to which they can return. JRNU and the Jewish community in Kropyvnytskyi found the family temporary housing and is providing food and other support.
Unfortunately, there are thousands of families like Vladimir, Nonna and their children, and we are helping as many as possible, with continued support from our generous partners and donors. Together we make a difference and ensure no one is left behind.
Throughout Ukraine, communities are struggling with reduced power or no power at all. Crews are working around the clock to restore power and shore up the power sources, but the situation is challenging for everyone, as winter weather has already set in. The government has asked all citizens to reduce power consumption as shown in the picture above.
In addition to our humanitarian aid of food and medicine, JRNU is supplying people with warm clothes, blankets, utility vouchers and more.
The City of Zaparozhye, on the banks of the Dnipro River in Southeast Ukraine, is known for its nuclear power stations, industrial facilities, and advanced transportation systems. For the past 27 years, Rabbi Erentrau has established and maintained an active Jewish community supported by a shul/community center, school, soup kitchen, and mikvah. Presently, more than 700 people, Jews and non-Jews alike, are living in the center, and relying on JRNU for food, medicine and more. During the holidays, Rabbi Erentrau coordinated production of kosher honey and prepared thousands of very special packages for Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot.
Sadly, this is not the first time that war has touched the people of Zaparozhye. Nearly 80% of the Jewish population (that numbered 30,000) was killed during World War II. Today, the people are struggling to prepare for winter with often disrupted power supplies and rising costs. Rabbi Erentrau and JRNU are a lifeline for the community, with friendship and fellowship as well as shelter and basic necessities.
JRNU is bringing much needed joy to the Jews of Ukraine, to celebrate Simchat Torah. Special flags were made in the country in recent days and distributed to thousands of children. Tonight everyone will dance with the festive flags and Torah books.
The upcoming holiday of Shemini Atzeret / Simchat Torah will be joyous inside synagogues all across Ukraine, with singing and dancing, and the traditional “hakafot” to celebrate the completion and beginning of the annual Torah reading cycle. For many individuals and families in Ukraine, the joy of coming together and celebrating with their community members is more important than ever, as their days are filled with fear and uncertainty. Just this week more than 80 rockets landed in Ukraine, causing severe damage in Kyiv, as well as Dnipro, Kharkov, Zhitomjer, Khmelnytskyi, Vinnytsia and Lviv. Miraculously, families survived devastating blasts that destroyed apartment buildings such as the one pictured, in Zaporizhia.
Thirty percent of the country is without electrical power and many lack water as well. Winter has arrived and people have been advised to don warm clothing and stock up on blankets as power is not expected to return anytime soon. JRNU staff and volunteers accompanied the Chabad rabbis going door to door in each community, checking on the residents, providing assistance where needed. Sukkot services were held at every shul, giving people a brief respite from the frightening chaos they have endured, and a little sense of normalcy. We continue to provide food, medicine, housing and more to the people of Ukraine.
We wish everyone a joyous holiday with friends and family, and ask that we continue to remember those who are suffering. We all look forward to better days ahead.
This week the war intensified significantly, worsening conditions for the Ukrainian people. Our support is more critical than ever: food, medication, housing and more. Some individuals are particularly vulnerable during this time, including the elderly, the disabled, and those living alone, like Boris, pictured below.
Boris, 65, has various disabilities that cause him to be wheelchair bound. With no children or other relatives to take care of him; Boris is dependent on JRNU for critical medical and mental health support.
Thanks to many brave and dedicated Chabad rabbis, JRNU staff and volunteers, tens of thousands of Jews throughout Ukraine were able to celebrate with prayers and rituals, despite the very difficult times.
As we look forward to celebrating Sukkot, the festival of harvest gathering, we are mindful of the thousands of people in Ukraine who have lost their homes and belongings and have little to gather. Many people are struggling to keep warm in apartments with damaged windows and limited hot water.
Working with our network of more than 150 rabbis throughout Ukraine, we are able to spread some joy to the Jewish communities. In addition to the holiday packages for Rosh Hashanah, with honey, cookies and cakes, calendars and coloring books, we distributed thousands of beautiful packages for Sukkot, with a Lulav, Etrog, Hadasim and Aravot. At the shuls and community centers, the rabbis are creating a festive environment, despite the challenging circumstances, inviting people to gather for prayer and observance of traditional rituals.
JRNU is able to support the Jews of Ukraine during these difficult times thanks to you! We all are grateful for the generous support and fellowship from people around the world continuing to remember those in need. And we appreciate all our friends and families with whom we share this most holy and meaningful time of year.
After rockets landed in the Lyapin family’s home town of Kramatorsk and damaged their only car, they immediately fled, heading west. Upon their arrival in Dnipro, JRNU staff repaired the front and rear windows of the car, and sent the Lyapins on their way. Between the lack of side windows, fuel issues, and severe cold, the Lyapins needed to make frequent stops.
During a stop in Kropyvntsky, Natalya, 68 years old, broke her hip while trying to get out of the car. The family was forced to remain in Kropyvntsky while she underwent surgery and rehabilitation. During medical testing, they discovered that Natalya has cancer and may need additional treatment right away. Sadly, Natalya’s daughter, Svetlana, underwent cancer treatment just two years earlier.
The Lyapin family was embraced by the Jewish community of Kropyvntsky. JRNU is taking care of their daily needs: their rent is being paid, a monthly voucher for food and other items is provided, and medication will be supplied as needed. Additionally, arrangements were made for Svetlana’s seven-year-old daughter Tina to attend a Jewish camp with other children.
JRNU continues to give essential aid and support to the Lyapin family during these difficult times.
Yom Kippur, the most holy of Jewish holidays, has special meaning to the Jews of Ukraine this year. The tradition of wishing others “a good final sealing” references the hope that they will be inscribed in the "Book of Life” for the coming year. These words resonate with millions of people for whom life has become even more precious; our brothers and sisters have endured sacrifices and suffering, directly and amongst those they love.
Yom Kippur provides an opportunity for us all to consider our deeds, good and bad; we make amends for our wrongs and recommit ourselves to doing good. The outpouring of "good" from around the world over the past 8 months has been a lifeline for millions of people. No more so than for the tens of thousands of Jews and others supported by the Jewish Relief Network Ukraine, made possible by our donors, our staff, our volunteers, our leaders and our communities. Your good deeds do not go unrecognized; our gratitude knows no bounds.
We wish everyone a meaningful holiday, an easy fast, and a New Year filled with peace and happiness.
As the new year begins, the people of Ukraine are facing new challenges on top of the existing difficult situation. The cold has started to set in and heating systems may not be turned on until multiple consecutive days of extreme cold have been reached. Many people's homes are uncomfortable, and even dangerous for the elderly and infirm. Heating costs are skyrocketing, warm blankets and heaters are difficult to come by, and people are very scared.
In Dnipro, an entire family died when their house was bombed, in the center of the city; 100 buses were destroyed in another bombing.
In Zaporizhzhya, civilian cars and volunteer buses were destroyed even as people were trying to provide humanitarian aid to others or trying to flee the “grey” zone to safety.
JRNU continues to be a source of support and aid for the people of Ukraine; they need our help now as much as ever.
Meet Vladimir, originally from Mariupol and a graduate of the Jewish University in Odessa. At 28 he was already a legal consultant. When the war broke out, several of Vladimir's family members died in the shellings in Mariupol. He lost contact with other members of his family and he lost his job. The stress was overwhelming. Thankfully, Vladimir has found a new part time job, but he continues to suffer from the events of the recent past and requires daily medication. JRNU has been a critical source of support for Vladimir, assisting him with costly prescriptions and more.
Sadly, thousands of other individuals like Vladimir need our help. Please donate today to ensure no one is left behind.
On behalf of Jewish Relief Network Ukraine--our staff, volunteers, rabbis and rebbetzins, I wish you all a very happy New Year. As we say in Hebrew, L'Shana Tova. These next few weeks have very special meaning for Jews all around the world, but no more so than our brothers and sisters in Ukraine who continue to endure grave challenges to their survival, each and every day. I extend my deepest gratitude to all of our partner organizations, and to each and every one of our donors. Every gift, no matter how big or how small, helps a person in Ukraine. They are grateful and we are grateful, for the compassion and generosity of people around the world who have responded to the cries for help.
With each day and each week that the situation in Ukraine continues, more people come to us for food, medicine, housing, medical care and other needs. We are continuing to ready schools for in person learning and we are preparing for winter. We have been supporting people in Ukraine long before the first shots rang out and we will be there long after the last soldier retreats. We are there for each and every individual who comes to us for help, and we seek out those who are unable to come on their own. With your help we will ensure no one is left behind.
Please join me in praying for peace throughout the world, and for a much better year for the people of Ukraine. We pray for their safety and good health, and for the opportunity to rebuild their homes and communities and welcome back those who were forced to leave.
I wish each and every one of you a year of happiness and prosperity. Shlomi Peles, Executive Director
Our partner organization, Americares, a health-focused relief and development organization that responds to crises all around the world, has come through for the people of Ukraine for a second time in just a few months.
As the situation inside Ukraine worsens, partners like Americares allow JRNU to continue to provide life saving support to people in 35 communities around the country. The medicine and medical supplies will directly impact the lives of thousands of men, women, and children who rely on JRNU for support, as well as mony other individuals throughout the country.
Thank you Americares!
Remember the Jews of Ukraine! Donate a holiday package today!
As we are busy preparing for High Holiday celebrations with our family and loved ones, JRNU has been preparing thousands of holiday packages for the Jews of Ukraine. Rosh Hashana gift boxes with honey cake, honey, a jewish calendar, grape juice, honey cookies, a children's book and a holiday handbook; and beautifully wrapped Sukkot packages from Israel with a Lulav, Etrog, Hadasim and Aravot . These very special deliveries will allow families to celebrate this most holy time of the year, even as they endure enormous hardship. Many Ukraine Jews are among the millions of displaced persons, living in temporary housing with no source of income and no way to provide for their daily needs. We continue to provide food, medicine, housing and more to 30,000 Ukrainains each month.
These wonderful gift packages will allow our brothers and sisters to share in the traditions of our forefathers. With your help we can give thousands of suffering Jews some joy and hope for better days to come.
Please buy a package for a family in Ukraine and make their holiday a special: $60 buys a Rosh Hashanah box and $45 buys a Sukkot package.
Last week, the Executive Director of JRNU, Shlomi Peles, along with Rabbi Moshe Moskowitz – Chief Rabbi of Kharkiv, Rabbi Nachum Erntroy – Chief Rabbi of Zaparozehe, and Rabbi Mordechai Lavanhartz – from Kyiv, welcomed the Minister of the Diaspora, Mr. Nachman Shay, for a visit to Kfar Chabad.
Minister Shay's visit began in the village’s etrog orchard where he was received by the Chasidic farmer Elazar Garlick who told him about the history of the orchard that provides thousands of beautiful etrogs every year. From there, Minister Shai continued to the village’s beehives, where he was received by the Schneerson family. The minister was shown the honey production process in the factory.
At the heart of the Diaspora Minister’s tour was a visit to “770” house – a replica of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s house in Brooklyn, where the minister donned tefillin and offered a prayer. Rabbi Nachum Erntroy – Chief Rabbi of Zaparozehe, sounded the shofar.
The visit concluded with Rabbi Peles awarding a “Token of Salvation” to the Minister of the Diaspora, and all the rabbis expressing their gratitude for Minister Shay's ongoing support of the Jewish communities in Ukraine.
The war is taking an even heavier toll on the people of Ukraine than many realized.
The stress is overwhelming, evidenced by the skyrocketing sales of sedatives and antidepressants. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Ukrainians are now the most depressed people in the world, with sales of antidepressants up 50% since the war began; if several million Ukrainians had not left the country, the figure would be 70%!
Additionally, millions of children are suffering mental health impacts and will continue to feel the effects into the future. The demand for basic needs continues to increase: food, medication, hygiene items, and other essentials, like towels, blankets, eating utensils and more.
Over the past month, JRNU’s medical program accepted applications from individuals in 15 cities, and in the days ahead more than 1,650 people will receive needed medications.
Fortunately, the Nova Poshta mail/courier services has recognized us as a national humanitarian aid organization and our supplies are delivered free of charge, allowing us to reach even more people in need.
Y Net News highlights JRNU help for every person in Kherson. The synagogue is a center for humanitarian aid for all--Jews and non Jews alike.
The Jerusalem Post highlights JRNU's Shavuot efforts
Jerusalem Post awards Yael Eckstein Humanitarian Award for extraordinary support of Ukrainian Jews
CNN interviewed Chabad Rabbi Avraham Berkowitz in Moldova, where Chabad has brought thousands of Jewish refugees from war-devastated Ukraine.