By: Fern Sidman
As war continues to rage in Ukraine, each passing day brings us gruesome reports of more civilians being brutally murdered and left homeless by Russian bombardments. Many people have been horrified by imagery of wanton bloodshed and violence that appear on our computer screens and on television.
Since Russia launched the military assault on Ukraine in February 24th, reports have surfaced about rescue efforts on the part of Jewish organizations seeking to extricate the 350,000 Jews in Ukraine.
On Wednesday, March 9th, Chabad of Ukraine reported that they had organized 54 buses which carried Jewish refugees from all over Ukraine to the border, heading to such countries as Moldova, Romania, and Poland. Once there, they are housed in refugee camps until they are assisted in relocating toward Western and Central Europe or placed on chartered flights to Israel. The buses are often staffed with armed security guards and generally can cost up to $20,000 per trip. One trip, which brought a busload of orphans and support staff to Germany, cost $40,000.
Rabbi Avraham Wolf, Chabad emissary and chief rabbi of Odesa and southern Ukraine, tells those asking him – to leave: “If you can, get up and leave.”
“There is no reason to be in a place of danger without reason,” explains Rabbi Wolf, who cares for the Jewish community in Odessa, which has about 35,000 people. On regular days the synagogue in the city was packed until the invasion.
Still, now, after rescuing thousands from Odessa and more than half of the community becoming refugees, the seats there remained empty primarily, and Rabbi Wolf continues to have stayed there with his wife Chaya and children as part of their mission that began there in the 1990s.
Last week, the Jewish Voice reported that an emergency campaign is now underway to assist Tikva Children’s Home in Odessa with evacuation, safety, and supply costs related to the safety of their children during these challenging times.
Tikva is a successful 25-year old social service and educational organization in Ukraine that has saved thousands of homeless and abused Jewish children in the Odessa region of Ukraine. Tikva operates 12 facilities that house nearly 300 children, school 900 children, provide meals and services for nearly a thousand elderly Jews (many of whom are Holocaust survivors) and provide community support though the synagogue, and its community centers.
While this worthwhile organization faces the unknown, Tikva’s emergency relief fundraising campaign will directly assistd with covering the enormous and rising costs related to security, shelter, relocation, transportation, food, water, medicine and supplies. “Tikva Children’s Home has been saving the orphaned Jewish children of Ukraine and helping them transition to self-sufficiency for over two decades,” noted Tikva’s Director of Development Yanna Begelman. “Today, we need your help, prayers and donations to ensure we can continue our mission during this time of war.”
Ms. Begelman added; “In addition to our efforts to save the orphaned Jewish children of Ukraine, Tikva is also in the process of moving entire families as well as groups of elderly people to areas of safety as the Russian aggression increases all throughout Ukraine.”
In Israel on Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz spoke of the Ukrainian refugee crisis and vowed that the Jewish State would not turn down anyone seeking a new home. According to a report on the Israel National News web site, Gantz said: “We are ready to accept many refugees from Ukraine until the end of the fighting, for which we pray, and we are working towards that. Therefore, we will reach and help every Jew, rescue him, and ensure good and sensitive immigration and absorption here in Israel. In this context, the IDF and the defense establishment will also be fully mobilized, as it was during the Aliyah in the 1990s, and as in any national challenge that has come before us. We are preparing for this, and we will provide any assistance that is required and that the IDF can provide.”
Below, is a comprehensive list of charitable organizations that have been vetted for legitimacy and transparency. Please donate today and make a difference in the lives of those beleaguered Ukrainian Jews who are fighting for their lives.
Tikva Children’s Home – https://www.tikvaodessa.org/
Yad Yisroel – Emergency Funds for Kyiv Jewish Community – https://yadyisroel.com/kehilas-kiev/
United Hatzalah – Emergency in Ukraine – https://israelrescue.org/
America for Ukraine – https://americaforukraine.org/
Kings Bay Y – Ukraine Relief Fund – https://www.kingsbayy.org/donate/
Chief Rabbi of Ukraine, Rabbi Yaakov Bleich Team Page – https://www.charidy.com/HelpKyiv/Rabbibleich?fbclid=IwAR1od6qNI1Y3nvXAupQ658g-_UoH4gvQskyQq5F23LNykSWBp02IxSVDvBY
Save the Children – Ukraine Rescue Fund – https://support.savethechildren.org/site/Donation2?df_id=5748&mfc_pref=T&5748.donation=form1&fbclid=IwAR1n77X2wPIUGUnjkgMpyAqEyQaiM5tGII90IqjgSuqq3D4tdCMlyMBK_8U
Global Giving – Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund – l https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/ukraine-crisis-relief-fund/?fbclid=IwAR3HquBNZzTMkZA0kXTBzGvjvx7G5Dd0PoqRxXAm4ePaC3CGfW_IIdAkFz8
Chabad – Ukraine Jewish Relief Fund – https://www.chabad.org/special/campaigns/ukraine/donate.htm
Odessa & South Ukraine Emergency Fund – https://thechesedfund.com/federationofjewishcommunitiesofthecis/emergency?aff=Sblast3
American Friends of Meir Panim – Help Feed Jewish Ukrainian Refugees Arriving in Israel – https://meirpanim.org/ukraine/?utm_campaign=2022+MP+Ukraine+Campaign&utm_medium=email&utm_source=jewishconnections
Agudah Ukraine Crisis Fund – https://charidy.com/agudahukraine?utm_source=sephardiclist&utm_medium=xxxemail