SPRINGFIELD — In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts has joined Jewish Federations of North America’s (JFNA) $16 million emergency campaign to provide humanitarian assistance to vulnerable Jewish populations living in Ukraine.
Funds will be allocated through Jewish Federations’ core partners, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Joint Distribution Committee, and World ORT, and others who are on the ground in Ukraine, and will provide critical welfare where it is needed most and support to protect and safeguard Ukraine’s Jewish community as well as Jews in neighboring countries.
Funds will support urgent necessities of vulnerable Jewish populations, community security, temporary housing for displaced persons, emergency needs in Jewish schools, and aliyah-related assistance.
“We were built for moments like this, for the daily needs of our community and for support of Jews in need wherever they live; the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts was founded in 1926 and over the past decades has been here in every crisis working together with our partner organizations,” said Nora Gorenstein, interim executive director of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts. “When one Jewish community is under attack, it is our responsibility and our honor to be able to stand up and support each other. We urge all members of our community to give toward the efforts of our overseas partners.”
There are approximately 200,000 members of Ukraine’s Jewish community, which boasts close to 300 Jewish organizations dispersed over some 100 towns and cities. Since the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014, they have been profoundly affected by political and economic instability, and Jewish Federations, together with partner agencies, have provided ongoing support to this vulnerable population for communal needs, programming, and humanitarian aid.
Through the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Jewish Federations have brought Shlichim to Ukraine, run Sunday programs, brought Ukrainian youth to Israel for immersive programs, and supported the aliyah of Jews. Through JDC partners, Jewish Federations supported multiple Hesed centers across 1,000 locations, supporting the most vulnerable people of Ukraine. Jewish Federations run JCCs and Jewish youth programs to help younger generations reimagine Jewish life where it once was all but decimated. Through World ORT, Jewish Federations have played an important role in the renewal of Jewish life through Jewish day schools, vocational training, and more.
“Jewish Federations are hard at work, day after day, year after year, in times of crisis and calm, to build flourishing Jewish communities,” said Mark Wilf, chair of the board of trustees of Jewish Federations of North America. “And when an emergency erupts, we are positioned to meet the challenges of Jewish people and communities around the world.”