FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JEWISH FEDERATIONS RAISE FIRST $28.5 MILLION IN AID FOR UKRAINE CRISIS
The Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts Holds Benefit Dinner to Continue to Raise Funds for Ukraine
SPRINGFIELD, MA — As the Ukraine emergency continues to unfold, the Jewish Federations are proud to announce that they have surpassed their initial $20 million goal, raising and allocating an astonishing $28.5 million in just two weeks to help secure the Jewish community of Ukraine and others facing wartime difficulties. Locally, the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts continues to raise funds for Ukraine with a community Shabbat dinner happening on March 18 at 7:30pm.
“We are harnessing the power of our community’s collective giving to answer the call from our Ukranian brothers and sisters,” said Nora Gorenstein, Interim Executive Director of The Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts. “This work lies at the heart of our Federation mission and while our annual campaign and the support we send overseas ensured our Jewish 911 response team were in place when disaster struck in Ukraine, this is an extraordinary moment that requires us to do more.”
The community Shabbat dinner benefiting Ukraine was organized by the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts and will be hosted by Congregation B’nai Torah in Longmeadow, Mass. This event is also being supported by Sinai Temple and Temple Beth El in Springfield, Mass. Thanks to the support of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, who provided a grant to cover all dinner expenses, one hundred percent of ticket costs and additional donations will go directly to relief efforts in Urkaine.
Given that the scope of the need continues to grow, Federations have continued vetting new opportunities to offer assistance on the ground and are already reassessing the overall level of need. We expect to announce an updated fundraising goal in the coming days.
The $28.5 million in funds have been allocated by both the Jewish Federations of North America and individual Federations, including Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts through our partner agencies The Jewish Agency for Israel, The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and World ORT, as well as United Hatzalah, Hillel International, Nefesh B’Nefesh, HIAS, Israel Trauma Coalition, Hadassah Medical Organization, Chabad, and Shma Yisrael.
Jewish Federations President and CEO Eric Fingerhut emphasized that our partner organizations providing relief on the ground were ready to jump into action because Jewish Federations have helped build and sustain them over decades through regular giving during quieter times.
“Communities do not wait until there is a fire to build a fire department, and the Jewish people do not wait until there is an emergency to create an effective system of rescue and humanitarian aid,” Fingerhut said.
In 2021 alone, the Jewish Federations and Network of Independent Communities raised and allocated over $100 million in unrestricted funds for our three partner organizations to power their vital work protecting Jews around the world, caring for the neediest among our people wherever they live, and connecting our communities.
“The skill and expertise we have been witnessing in the relief efforts in Ukraine and in the bordering countries is the result of years of experience, training, relationship building, and fundraising,” Fingerhut continued.
“We are proud that our system has both laid the groundwork for these organizations over the years and that our communities were so quick to answer the call to action at the moment it was needed.”
Federations have placed a specific emphasis on providing immediate relief and direct services to vulnerable populations and maintaining basic service delivery, to the degree possible, including:
- Providing housing, clothing, medication, cash assistance, mental health services, security, and transportation for refugees fleeing the war and those seeking to make Aliyah.
- Expediting the rapid Aliyah of those individuals or families who wish to move to Israel and facilitating their absorption on arrival.
- Ensuring the secure evacuation of individuals under immediate threat or where active hostilities are already taking place.
- Safeguarding the security of Jewish communal facilities and Jewish individuals, whether in their home communities or temporary accommodations.
Funds are going toward sustaining displaced Jews not in camps/shelters with basic needs, such as food, medicine, appliances, and clothing, as well as increasing cash assistance to the elderly, children and vulnerable families who are in financial turmoil and face physical threats.
According to our estimates, our funds have already had impact in the following ways:
- 5,000+ Jewish refugees have been evacuated
- 650+ Jewish Ukrainian refugees have arrived as new olim in Israel
- 4,130 beds were rented
- 23,000+ calls have been received at various hotlines
- Over 70% of the requests are for food, medicines, and evacuation
- 7,000 refugees have received on-the-ground support in Ukraine
- Supporting more than 1,000 locations across Ukraine
- Serving as the lifeline for 40,000 Jewish elderly and 2,500 poor Jewish children
To make a donation to provide essential support to Ukraine through the Jewish Federations of North America visit https://bit.ly/3K1dwOg.
About The Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts
Grounded in the values of justice, repairing the world, and Jewish unity, the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts connects individuals to a community that pursues social justice, fights hunger and poverty, rescues and resettles people in danger, and strengthens Jewish life. Through a network of agencies, synagogues, organizations, professionals and volunteers, as well as its community building and fundraising efforts, the Federation offers life-long enriching Jewish experiences for people of all ages and creates a vibrant Jewish life in Western Massachusetts, Israel, and around the globe. To learn more about the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts visit https://jewishwesternmass.org/