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Feb 27, 2024

Support Continues for Ukraine as War Passes Two-Year Mark

It has been two years since Russia invaded Ukraine, and the Greater Miami Jewish Federation’s overseas partner the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) continues to provide critical assistance to more than 41,000 Ukrainian Jews, as well as more than 15,000 Ukrainian Jewish refugees scattered around Europe.

“Even as we address multiple global crises, including the ongoing war in Israel, we remain laser-focused on the dire humanitarian situation in Ukraine,” said JDC CEO Ariel Zwang. “These needs are all the more painful with widespread trauma, spiking unemployment and serious gaps in children’s education."

Through support from the Annual Greater Miami Jewish Federation/UJA Campaign, JDC has delivered more than 1.6 million pounds of humanitarian aid to Jews in Ukraine and those who have fled to Moldova. JDC is caring for the elderly  including Holocaust Survivors  the impoverished and the displaced with food, medicine, water, heating and winter supplies, home care, education and social programming, often while employees and volunteers are putting themselves at risk.

One of those employees is Inna Vdovichenko, JDC’s representative in Odessa. “We are facing widespread fatigue and stress from the ongoing economical and psychological trauma,” she said. “Losing jobs, family members and continued displacement is combined with the harshest reality that people face: increased sirens, alerts and attacks. People are doing all they can to save their lives. They are proving that even the smallest amount of hope is an engine for survival.”

“These bombings, all these things that are killing people, destroying houses, leaving children homeless … it’s very scary,” said Galina Limarenko, an 82-year-old retired nurse who is grateful for the warm blanket, firewood and other winter supplies JDC has provided. “Thank G-d for the Jewish community, which never gives up and always shares even their very last piece of bread.”

Nika S. is the program director at the JDC-supported Beit Dan Jewish Community Center in hard-hit Kharkiv, where local Jewish residents enjoy much-needed emotional support. “I think all of Ukraine’s Jews need two things right now: a sense of safety and a sense of home,” she said. “Before the crisis, my purpose was to help revive Jewish life in the community, but now, in addition to that goal, my mission is to make every active or would-be member of Beit Dan, every new Jewish family, feel at home and feel safe within these walls, despite the chaos outside.

“These years would have been so much worse without the support of JDC,” Nika continued. “They don’t just act  they monitor the situation and research the needs of the communities, providing exactly the kind of support that people need at any given moment.”

“I am proud of all the people we have helped in the past two years, but our work is nowhere near complete,” said Zwang. To support programs in Ukraine, in Israel and countries worldwide, please make a donation to the Annual Campaign by clicking here.

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