Update from March 8th, 2016: Federations have mobilized support over the past year and a half to provide JDC with direly needed resources for Jews trapped behind the lines in eastern Ukraine, as well as those who fled and are now refugees in their own land. Our work has been recognized by the media, most recently in CNN's broadcast coverage of JDC's Ukraine winter relief and crisis work, now available online at CNN.com and related sites. The segment -- which is due to appear on CNN live news broadcast nationally beginning today -- features interviews with Ira Zbrovskaya, JDC's representative in Odessa, and imagery from the city's Beit Grand JCC, the Hesed social welfare operation, as well as home visits, and winter relief distribution.
Nearly a year has passed since pro-Russian separatists began battling Ukrainian forces in the eastern part of the country, and once again Jews are in danger. There are 5.2 million people living in conflict-affected areas and more than one million have fled their homes. Five thousand civilians have died and another 12,000 have been wounded. Thousands of Jews have either fled the region or remain trapped in the war zone.
- For the first time since World War II, Jews in Europe are displaced. Nearly 2,000 Jews in eastern Ukraine have had to leave their homes and are unable to find safe havens.
- In addition, 5,000 elderly and disabled Jews are trapped in their homes, unable to leave areas of conflict and cut off from the rest of the country.
- For the increased number of Jews seeking to relocate to Israel, our partners are enhancing vital educational and community aliyah programs.
To date, Federations have raised and allocated more than $2.5 million to help Ukrainian Jews and support aliyah for those who want to relocate. But the community’s urgent unmet needs continue to grow.
This crisis speaks to the most fundamental reasons that Jewish Federations are so critical. We will not turn away. We are making a difference.