Ways to help the Jews of Ukraine

March 14, 2022

In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Jewish organizations are directing aid for tens of thousands of Jews living in the embattled country, assisting refugees who are fleeing the fighting and helping area Jews who have been trying or are hoping to immigrate to Israel.

Below is a partial list of organizations that have ramped up ongoing efforts in the region or opened emergency mailboxes since the start of the war.

• The Jewish Federations of North America has an emergency mailbox for helping people immigrate to Israel, securing the local Ukrainian community and its institutions and maintaining critical welfare services, among other needs.

• The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee has a longstanding presence in the country, assisting impoverished seniors and supporting a network of Jewish community centers and social service agencies.

• The American Jewish Committee’s emergency #StandWithUkraine fund is pledging to direct 100 percent of the funds to those meeting urgent needs in Ukraine, including  IsraAID, the rapid response Israeli relief agency, which is assisting refugees of all backgrounds in neighboring Moldova.

• HIAS is  working through channels within the US and throughout Europe to support the safe and speedy resettlement of those seeking to leave Ukraine.

• The Jewish Agency for Israel has opened an emergency hotline to provide Ukrainian Jews with guidance and information regarding the immigration process, as well as general assistance.

• The Chabad-Lubavitch movement has a Ukraine Jewish Relief Fund.

• Masorti Olami has a fund for Ukrainian Relief.

• UJA-Federation of New York has a dedicated mailbox supporting its partners providing humanitarian needs in Ukraine.

• Project Kesher is currently supporting an Emergency Fund for Women in Ukraine.

• Agudath Israel has a Ukraine Emergency Relief fund that has raised $10 million as of March 10.

• United Hatzalah of Israel has sent medical professionals to Ukraine’s borders in Operation Orange Wings. Donations to their fund help deliver medical care to Ukraine.

• JRoots runs heritage trips to Poland to tell the story of the Holocaust. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it has repurposed to assist Ukrainian refugees into Poland and settle abroad. Contact Ayelet at +972 54-636-6512

• First-responder group IsraAID is on the scene as thousands of Ukrainians seek refuge in Moldova. IsraAID is providing psychological first aid and distributing essential relief supplies. Donations towards emergency support for Ukrainian refugees can be made here.

• Magen David Adom, Israel’s branch of Red Cross International, has established a Russian-language  refugee call center. Donations can be made here.

• Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America has opened a fund, “Ukraine in Crisis: Save Lives at Risk!” in support of the Hadassah Medical Organization, which is already treating Ukrainian refugees at its centers in Israel.

• The Brussels-based European Jewish Association (EJA), representing hundreds of communities across the continent, has launched a Europe-wide campaign to temporarily provide homes, food and clothing to hundreds of Jewish families whose lives have been torn-apart and up-ended by the conflict in Ukraine. For further information contact: +32 (0)476056450

• The Orthodox Union has opened a Ukraine Crisis Fund to support individuals and organizations assisting people on the ground in Ukraine.

• World Jewish Relief has been working in Ukraine for the last 30 years, and has helped 13,000 older and more vulnerable Ukrainians within and beyond the Jewish community in the past year alone. Its Ukraine Crisis Appeal is raising funds to support the organization’s 29 partners in Ukraine, along with partners in neighboring Moldova and Poland, which are providing food, cash, medical, material and psychological support to those fleeing or unable to escape the violence.

• The World Union for Progressive Judaism has launched the Ukraine Crisis Fund to support the safety and well-being of the Ukrainian Jewish community.

• Keren Hayesod – United Israel Appeal is working with the Jewish Agency and the Israeli government to expedite immigration to Israel for Ukrainian Jews, as well as assist the Jewish community remaining in Ukraine with essential goods such as food, supplies, security and other necessities.

Additional Articles

UNESCO-listed Flemish festival comes under fire for anti-Semitic floats

A famous Belgian carnival has run into trouble with the authorities because of the way it is said to portray Jewish people.
The annual carnival in the Belgian town of Aalst is a 600-year-old ritual, drawing up to 100,000 spectators each year. The event is described by the local authorities as a symbol of the town’s identity in the region.
One of the floats in the parade, however, entitled “Shabbat Year,” features two giant puppets, depicting Orthodox Jews complete with traditional side-curls, wearing pink suits, and standing amidst bags of money among rats, which the mayor of the Flemish described as “humoristic.”
The portrayal has caused an outcry among Jewish groups who have branded the float as “racist and anti-Semitic”, accusations that have led to the launch of a protest petition which has been signed by over 15,000 people.
In a new development, UNESCO, the Paris-based United Nations body for education and culture, is now considering whether to “de-list” the carnival from its prestigious Convention on the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
“UNESCO had to be vigilant and uncompromising” in ensuring that the regulations of its Convention are fully respected, a source for UNESCO said while adding that a decision will be made on the matter later this year.
Earlier in March, the Assistant Director-General for Culture at UNESCO, Ernesto Ottone, was highly critical of the floats, saying, “The satirical spirit of the Aalst Carnival and the freedom of expression cannot serve as a screen for such manifestations of hatred.”
Ottone spoke of the float’s “indecent caricatures” which, he said, are contrary to the “values of respect and dignity embodied by UNESCO”.
The European Commission has also weighed in on the controversy with a spokesman commenting that “it should be obvious to all that portraying such representations in the streets of Europe is absolutely unthinkable…74 years after the Holocaust.”
The three-day folk carnival, arguably the most famous of its kind in Belgium and a favourite of young and old alike, has been on the UNESCO list since 2010.
The article was published on New Europe

Mazal Tov to our affiliated friend Max Lowenstein

The EJA sends a big Mazal Tov and a heartfelt Kol Hakavod to our affiliated friend Max Lowenstein, Chairman of the NIHS Brabant community in Eindhoven, Holland. Today, to mark King’s day in the Netherlands, Mr Lowenstein received a medal on becoming a Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau. A well deserved recognition for his years of dedicated service to the community in Eindhoven and to the wider community in general.

Greek Court Bans Kosher and Halal Slaughter

The Hellenic Council of State banned kosher and halal slaughter on Tuesday. Kosher and halal preparations of animals are central to Jewish and Muslim religious practices.
Both practices require animals to be killed without being anesthetized. The Panhellenic Animal Welfare and Environmental Federation requested that the court annul an exemption in a law that allowed religious slaughtering practices to take place without anesthetic.
The courts ruled that the religious preparation of animal products did not outweigh those animals’ welfare, and decided that the exemption was a violation of the law’s requirement to slaughter animals with anesthesia. The court has left it up to the government to regulate the relationship between animal rights and religious freedom, and they will preside over the country’s slaughterhouse practices.
Many Jewish people are speaking out against the court’s decision, calling it an infringement on their religious freedom. European Jewish Association (EJA) chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin said that “Jewish freedom of religion is under direct attack across Europe from the very institutions that have vowed to protect our communities.”

Jewish groups outraged over Greek court’s decision

The EJA believes that the court’s decision is following a precedent set last December by the Court of Justice of the European Union, which gave EU nations the ability to ban kosher slaughter in support of animal welfare while also allowing for religious freedom for affected religious groups.
The decision allows members of the EU to make their own decisions about how to follow animal welfare guidelines while allowing people to practice their religions. But the EJA believes that “it is now clear” that member states are leaning heavily in favor of animal welfare and neglecting religious groups.

“As early as last December we warned about the dangerous consequences of the European Court of Justice ruling, and now we are seeing the result,” Margolin said. “It started in Belgium, moved to Poland and Cyprus and it is now Greece’s turn. These direct attacks come from many of those governments and institutions that have vowed to defend their Jewish communities.”

“What we are witnessing is first-rate hypocrisy,” he said. “When it comes to antisemitism, governments and institutions rightly stand behind us. But when our beliefs and customs are attacked right and left by laws, they are nowhere to be seen.”

Margolin said that the EJA plans to air their grievances at the highest level of the Greek government, hoping to get engagement and dialogue about how they can practice their religion comfortably in Greece. The EJA leader considers the issue of high importance, as food preparation and slaughter practices are central parts of both Jewish and Muslim religions.
“How can Jews live in Europe if you continue to legislate against us?” said Margolin.

Greek Court Bans Kosher and Halal Slaughter

Greetings for the Upcoming Rosh HaShanah by President of the President of the Republic of Lithuania, H.E. Mr. Gitanas Nausėda

https://www.facebook.com/ejassociation/videos/547439039345968/

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