May this Shabbat Have Extra Shalom

It is hard to feel anything but hopeless as the images from Ukraine come across our TVs, computers, and phones.  It feels like they are replaying the horrors every hour and they get worse and worse as we hear more about communities literally being leveled, mass graves, and bombing of hospitals.

We all feel like we need to do something and many of you have by making a donation to our Savannah Jewish Community Ukraine Campaign.  There have been modest gifts of $10 that had accompanying notes that said, “I wish I could do more,” and we know that the sentiment is real.  We’ve received an envelope with $20 bills that came anonymously.  We’ve received donations from Donor Advised Funds and we even had a child empty their Tzedakah box (the donation was $2.83): All heartfelt, all meaningful!

So far, the Federation has transmitted $54,000 to Ukraine Relief with another $18,000 tranche scheduled for Monday.  People have been giving from the heart and while they haven’t asked for details (the needs are so varied and so great), we thought we’d share.

  • To Jews remaining in Ukraine, we are providing cash assistance, food, and medicine to Holocaust survivors, seniors, and the new poor, temporary housing for displaced people, and transportation to remove people out of conflict zones (did you know that it is estimated that it costs $10,000 for a busload of people, and that is if they can find a route out of the cities find fuel, and a driver to man the bus?);
  • To those who have evacuated to other countries we are providing temporary housing, food, SIM cards, and basic needs;
  • To those who intend to or are considering resettling in Israel, we are providing chartered flights and personnel to process immigration requests and absorption assistance in Israel.

In the coming days and weeks, we will increase security for local Jewish organizations in Ukraine, assist our partners (JDC, JAFI, World ORT and others) with the absorption challenges in Poland (the majority of the evacuees), Hungary, Moldova, Romania, and Slovakia, and of course, Israel; give emotional first aid to the brave staff members who are at risk of developing second hand trauma, and continue to meet the emerging needs of those suffering in Ukraine and in neighboring countries.

A friend in the community quipped to me, “How is it that the Jewish community is so ready to mobilize to help the Jewish community in Ukraine?”  My answer was simple, “Our local community, and communities around the world work hand in hand with our partners, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, World ORT, and others to assist Jews throughout the world.  We must always stand ready.  The infrastructure was already in existence, we just have to ramp it up to save lives.”

It’s part of what your gift to the Annual Jewish Community Campaign has supported for many years.  It’s thanks to you, and people like you, that we were ready to answer the call.

We all pray for the safety of our Ukrainian brothers and sisters, keep hoping for better days, and will continue to fund and advocate on their behalf.

May this Shabbat have extra Shalom

PS  If you haven't yet provided support for Ukraine Relief or would like to make a supplemental gift, you can click here to make your gift online