Shabbat for Ukraine

Tags: Federation, Overseas, Advocacy

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Exactly one year ago this month, the Ukraine crisis began. Immediately, Jewish Federations, American Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), and their partners mobilized to deliver humanitarian aid to Jews in Ukraine, and those fleeing to neighboring countries. This was a collective effort and that life-saving work continues today.

As we welcome Shabbat and light our candles, we, too, are engaged in a collective effort, a timeless Jewish tradition. As we do so on February 24, let us reflect on the current crisis and help bring light to those Ukranian Jews still caught in darkness.

Synagogues across denominations throughout the Greater Cleveland community plan to participate, including:

  • Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple
  • Beachwood Kehilla
  • Beth El - The Heights Synagogue
  • B’nai Jeshurun
  • Green Road Synagogue
  • Oheb-Zedek Cedar Sinai
  • Park Synagogue 
  • Sha’arey Tikvah
  • Suburban Temple - Kol Ami
  • Temple Emanu-El
  • The Temple-Tifereth Israel 
(list in formation)

Learn more about Shabbat for Ukraine now >>

Impact to Date

A year into the crisis, the Jewish Federations, JDC, and JAFI continue our life-saving care for tens of thousands of Jews in Ukraine, thousands of Jewish refugees remaining in Europe, and also to thousands of non-Jewish Ukrainians. Over the last year, we have:

  • Continued life-saving services (food, medicine, and homecare) for more than 43,000 Jews in Ukraine, including poor, elderly, and newly impoverished Jews
  • Evacuated over 13,000 Jews from Ukraine, including 170 medical evacuations of frail and sick elderly
  • Aided over 40,000 Ukrainian refugees fleeing to neighboring countries at border crossings, supplying vital necessities such as food, medicine, shelter, and guidance, in partnership with European Jewish communities

Our ability to achieve this is based on our vast, preexisting social service and Jewish community infrastructure in Ukraine, professionals and local volunteer corps, and partnerships with local European Jewish communities.

Current and Future Needs

A year into the crisis, Jews from Ukraine need us more than ever. The country is in the midst of a bitter winter, and temperatures frequently drop below freezing. Recent escalations have damaged much of Ukraine’s electricity and heating infrastructure, leaving many without light and warmth. Because of this, Ukraine’s Jewish community is contending with a host of frightening and new winter-related challenges as well as ongoing economic decline. To meet this dire need, the Jewish Federations, JDC, JAFI and their partners are working around the clock to provide winter survival and material support, and other aid to poor and vulnerable Jews. This includes:

  • Providing 22,000+ people with winter survival needs, including: wood, coal, canned and dehydrated foods, support for covering utilities costs, heaters, warm clothes, blankets, sub-zero sleeping bags, and electric bedding
  • Resettlement and integration assistance for refugees in Jewish communities in Europe, including: food, medicine, accommodation, trauma support, and educational scholarships
  • Strengthening Ukrainian hospitals and supporting access to healthcare for non-Jewish populations in Ukraine and refugees remaining in Europe

Our collective life-saving winter survival operations are only possible thanks to the generosity and compassion of donors like you. On behalf of the tens of thousands of Ukrainian Jews whom you are helping keep warm this winter and sustaining throughout the crisis, we thank you.

The Third Candle

On Shabbat, we light two candles. We pass our hands in front of our eyes, taking in the light and warmth of the flames.

A year into the Ukraine crisis, many Jews live without light and heat, and must endure rolling blackouts and bitter cold. Without electricity and heat, winter relief has turned into winter survival: That’s why we have increased our efforts, opening warming centers where people can gather and escape the cold, while also delivering radiators, food, medicine, and fuel for warmth.

On February 24, we light three candles instead of two. As we light this extra candle, we commit to delivering Ukrainian Jews the life-saving help and support they need to endure these difficult times.

As we say the blessing over the candles, let us remember those Jews trapped in darkness, in need of light, warmth, and hope.

Be a light for Jews in the Ukraine crisis. Give today

Thank you for your generosity and care for our global Jewish family.

Learn More: Federation, Overseas, Advocacy