Intensive fighting continues between Russia and Ukraine, while millions of Ukrainians, including tens of thousands of Jews, are still attempting to flee the country.
In just three weeks since the fighting began, with the support of generous donors in Ottawa and across North America, our network of Jewish Federations have raised more than $34.5 million for Ukrainian relief efforts. Most of that money has already been allocated by the Jewish Federation of North America’s (JFNA) Special Allocations Committee to Ukrainian relief efforts being undertaken by Federation partners The Jewish Agency for Israel and The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC).
A JFNA delegation also completed a visit to Poland last week where they visited Jewish refugee centres across the country, as well as the Medyka border connecting Ukraine and Poland. The group spent time with potential Olim at the Jewish Agency housing facility and visited a refugee centre in Lublin. The centre is located in Yeshivat Chachmei Lublin, which was the largest (and one of the most revered) yeshivot in the world before the Holocaust. The synagogue at the site still exists, and JFNA CEO Eric Fingerhut led morning prayers in the famous room. Learn more here.
To help understand the efforts underway to support our brothers and sisters in Ukraine, here is a look at the numbers (accurate as of March 20, 2022):
$34.5 million in aid
The Jewish Agency for Israel’s Director General Amira Ahronoviz said that the organization is “saving a life every minute,” following her trip to the Ukrainian border. See her reflections and update.
Some numbers from the Jewish Agency since the outbreak of the fighting:
- 1,950 olim from Ukraine have arrived in Israel
- 823 olim have arrived from Russia.
- 7,120 people are currently accommodated in the Jewish Agency's transit facilities in five countries (including in Ukraine itself).
- 8,088 candidates for Aliyah have filed papers, according to applications submitted to the Jewish Agency, from Ukraine.
- 357 candidates for Aliyah from Russia and Belarus have filed papers.
- 10,282 Ukrainian nationals have arrived in Israel, including 6,513 Ukrainians who are not eligible for Aliyah. The current directive of Israel’s Ministry of Interior allows entry without quota of Ukrainians who have relatives in Israel, even if they are not eligible for Aliyah. Many of these refugees entered Israel as tourists, and officials estimate that 70 per cent of them will eventually apply for Aliyah status.
- 24,120 calls from Ukraine and from relatives of Ukrainians in Israel received on the Agency’s Global Centre emergency hotline.
- 13,500 calls on the hotline from Russia and Belarus, plus another 2,664 calls from the rest of Former Soviet Union.
- 40 volunteers assisting professionals operating the hotlines.
- 46 Agency employees, emissaries, and local workers, in five countries are handling Aliyah arrangements for Jewish refugees seeking to arrive in Israel immediately.
- 23,000 items of humanitarian aid for Ukrainian refugees have been collected in an Agency initiative, to amass basic equipment such as coats, blankets, gloves, hats and scarves, as well as personal hygiene equipment such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toilet paper, etc. The campaign received massive support through a special telethon on Israeli TV. A first plane with 120-tonnes of aid has already been dispatched, and a second plane with 110 tonnes will follow. About 6,000 boxes were transferred to the Jewish Agency's Aliyah and Absorption Unit for the benefit of new olim from Ukraine.
JDC reports the following latest numbers:
- 32,000 Jews currently being serving in Ukraine.
- 4,000 Jewish refugees have been evacuated from Ukraine by JDC. These evacuations are happening almost daily, and numbers can fluctuate between one hundred and several hundred.
- 70 per cent of the approximately 9,000 elderly Jews that were receiving homecare prior to the war are still being serviced by JDC in Ukraine, despite near-impossible wartime conditions.
Donate: While continuing to support the vital efforts in Ukraine, new donations via the Jewish Federation of Ottawa from this point forward will also help resettle Jews from the region who have been impacted by the conflict and are seeking to build a new life in Canada.