The Children of Odessa


The 120 Mishpacha Orphanage children have been back in Odessa for a year, following their 11-month stay in Berlin, Germany. The harrowing 52-hour bus trip they took when fleeing the crises in Odessa, nearly two years ago, is not one they will forget anytime soon.

The staff and children are happy to be home, but Odessa is not the same. The Jewish community has shrunk by almost half, and the challenges they face are immense. Many people have lost loved ones, homes and livelihoods; parents have become desperate and distraught--some even suicidal. 

Inside the orphanage, the children have returned to their studies and routines, notwithstanding the air raid sirens and races to the bomb shelter. The trauma they have endured remains: “The kids meet with psychologists all the time. We’re coping with very trying circumstances,” noted Rabbi Avraham Wolff who runs the orphanage, among many other responsibilities. He prays that the food, education and warmth his staff provides will help them overcome the many challenges they continue to face.

The Mispacha children’s home is a place of refuge for children from all over Ukraine, whose parents are unable to care for them due to drugs, alcohol, crime, mental-health problems or extreme financial hardship. Some kids arrived at the home as newborns, straight from the hospital, while others came when they were much older. Seven new children joined the orphanage over the past couple of years, including two boys ages 4 and 5 whose mother disappeared during a bombing attack on Odessa a year and a half ago; they were brought to Mishpacha by neighbors. The orphanage provides each child with food, clothes, schooling, healthcare, counseling and love, until they are ready to live independently (and/or get married).

Following the tragedies of October 7, understandably Jews around the world are focused on Israel. Rabbi Wolf noted: “The security and other needs in Israel are very important to the Jewish world — and they are very important to me. But we can’t forget that there are thousands of Jewish children here in Ukraine, too, and they also need our love and support.”

With your help we continue to save lives and restore hope.

Together, we Save Lives and Restore Hope!

Shlomo Peles
Executive Director
Rabbi Shmuel Kaminezki
Dnipro, Ukraine
Rabbi Pinchas Vishedsky
Kyiv, Ukraine
Rabbi Moshe Moskovitz
Kharkiv, Ukraine
Rabbi Shlomo Wilhelm
Zhitomir, Ukraine
Rabbi Avraham Wolff
Odessa, Ukraine