CRISIS IN THE UKRAINE
As evidenced by the video above, the situation in Ukraine continues to be dire.

Last Friday, we launched our local fundraising effort to support the Jewish community of Ukraine. As one of the largest Jewish communities in the world, 200,000 of our Jewish brethren are experiencing profound hardships to their physical and economic safety and security.

To date, Houston’s Jewish community has raised $380,488. We are grateful for your generosity which will support the immediate humanitarian needs for those impacted.

The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) has set a $20 million goal that will go to help those in Ukraine. JFNA’s Ukraine Allocations Subcommittee met Tuesday to review funding requests and approved an immediate initial allocation of $7.9 million.

Next week they will review and approve additional requests so funds continue flowing where they are needed most. This first round of funding saw dollars going to our partners including The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), World ORT, United Hatzalah, and Hillel International.

Thank you to those who have given. We are still taking donations as the need continues to grow. They can be made by clicking the button below:
YOUR DOLLARS IN ACTION
The collective funds raised will address major areas of immediate and urgent needs related to evacuation, medical care, and resettlement as identified by Federation partners, including:
 
  • Humanitarian support including first aid, basic necessities such as food, medicine and clothing, and medical support.
  • Transportation to bring displaced people to the borders or safe facilities, and temporary housing either in Ukraine, or while they wait to make Aliyah or shelter outside the conflict zone.
  • Security grants to small Jewish organizations across Ukraine.
  • Purchasing satellite phones to maintain communications across the region.
  • Securing five Jewish schools and training staff to manage crisis needs.
  • Assisting internally displaced people in multiple locations.
  • Launching an emergency hotline.
  • Deployment of additional staff and materials to support the people on the ground.
FROM OUR PARTNERS
The Houston Federation has maintained historic partnerships with JDC, JAFI, and World ORT. They, along with United Hatzalah, have each provided updates below about their work on the ground in Ukraine.

The Jewish Agency for Israel has received some 5,000 requests to immigrate to Israel in recent days and believes that up to 10,000 Ukrainian immigrants could arrive in Israel in the near future, in what would only be the first wave of refugees headed to the Jewish state.
 
The Agency has sent an additional 18 shlichim or emissaries to the Polish, Hungarian, Moldovan, and Romanian borders to assist Jewish refugees who want to move to Israel, and is looking to double that number in the immediate future. While the Agency is working with the Israeli government to provide visas for those who want to make Aliyah, a spokesperson said that “at this stage it doesn’t matter” if refugees fleeing the fighting are interested in immigrating to Israel, “they are Jews. Even if they want to stay, we provide help.” For more information visit here.
  
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) reports that, so far, they have not received any reports of death or injury from their Hesed welfare centers across Ukraine, although there have been reports of damage to the homes of some welfare recipients. At the same time, JDC’s homecare services continue in some locations to all recipients, and in other locations, where shelling is harsh, only to the most vulnerable. As conditions become more difficult, stores have closed, and residents’ supplies are running out.
 
JDC’s emergency hotline for incoming calls from Ukraine is now staffed by hundreds of Russian and Ukrainian speaking volunteers in Israel as the volume of calls increases dramatically. In addition, JDC’s Kishinev Volunteer Center in Moldova is placing outgoing calls to check on vulnerable JDC welfare recipients in Ukraine.
 
Hundreds of refugees have been evacuated with JDC help, and the organization is hoping to evacuate many more in the coming days. Learn more here.
 
World ORT oversees a network of five schools in Ukraine, with more than 8,000 students, teachers, staff, and their families. Jewish Federation support will provide immediate emergency items including food with a long shelf-life, water, matches, and lighters, batteries and portable chargers, bio-toilets, LED torches and walkie-talkies, first aid kits, and essential medicines. More information can be found here.
 
United Hatzalah is using its grant from Federations to help fund a specially chartered plane carrying 15 tons of medical supplies, food, humanitarian aid, for all Ukrainian refugees at the Moldova border. The plane will also bring an additional 40 medical personnel, EMTs, paramedics, doctors, psychologists, and therapists, to join the organization’s 15 volunteers already on the ground. See here for more.
BRIEFINGS
JFNA will hold a briefing on March 9 at 12pm ET that will deliver an update on the latest developments in the war in Ukraine and the Ukrainian Jewish community. Click here to register.

JFNA and UJA-Federation of New York also held a webinar on Tuesday that brought voices from the field representing NSCEJ, JDC, and the Jewish Agency. Speakers shared updates on the heartbreaking reality of living through a war and the heroic humanitarian efforts Federations are supporting. The recording can be viewed here.