Our entire Jewish Federation of Howard County family is watching with dismay and concern as innocent people in Ukraine are suffering as the violent conflict with Russia escalates. It is with heavy hearts that we have opened a fund to provide immediate assistance to those who are being directly affected by this horrific situation.
The Jewish Federations of North America and its overseas partners, including the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, are working in tandem to swiftly meet emerging and urgent humanitarian needs of the 200,000+ members of Ukraine’s Jewish community. As of now, the immediate needs are projected to reach over $16 million.
These needs include:
Maintaining critical welfare services
Assisting internally displaced people in multiple locations
Launching an emergency hotline
Purchasing satellite phones to maintain communications across the region
Securing the local community and its institutions
Securing temporary housing for people in transit
Securing Jewish schools and training staff to manage crisis needs
Helping people make Aliyah to Israel
The Jewish community in Ukraine is special. Our own JFHC board member, Cantor Stephanie Weishaar, the Spiritual Leader for Kol Nefesh, has spent significant time there and we invite you to read her personal reflection below.
Every dollar you donate to this fund will go directly to helping Ukrainians who are suffering as a result of this conflict. Thank you for your support for the Jewish Federation of Howard County as we strive to be a community-driven organization committed to taking care of the needs of the Jewish people and building a vibrant Jewish future in Howard County, in Israel, and around the world.
Joel Frankel, Executive Director
Rachael Simon, President
Reflections from Cantor Stephanie Weishaar
While many in the Howard County Jewish community know me as the Cantor and Spiritual Leader of Kol Nefesh and the President of our Board of Rabbis, you may not know this is an “encore career.” For several decades, I worked in international development. During that time, I served as the Field Director for Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and Moldova for a U.S. Jewish charity and I lived most of 1993 in Dnipropetrovsk (now simply known as Dnipro), a large city in eastern Ukraine. The country was newly independent, and I was distributing humanitarian aid and training fledgling nonprofit organizations on their role in civil society. Thousands of Jews were just beginning to practice the religion they had inherited yet never been allowed to embody. Synagogues were rededicated, schools opened, summer camps were organized - it was a rebirth of religion after seven decades of Soviet rule. Shabbat dinner at the rabbi’s house included conversations in Ukrainian, Russian, English, Hebrew, and Yiddish. What an exciting time! The Jewish community in Dnipro has grown and they now have what may be the largest JCC in the world. In all the Ukrainian cities we are watching on the news this week, Jewish families have increased in number and involvement over the past 30 years. My heart aches as I read messages from friends and reports online about the fear and destruction this invasion has brought to their homes. We all want to reach across the globe and help our Ukrainian sisters and brothers today. I hope you will join me and the Jewish Federation of Howard County in supporting the relief efforts. I know that the JDC has worked on the ground in Ukraine for many years and is uniquely positioned to get our donations to people in need quickly. I was grateful for their collaboration in my work in the 1990s and I am relieved that they are still working to make a difference in Ukraine. As Shabbat falls, may we take a moment to breathe and rest our weary hearts as we pray for peace. Oseh shalom bimromav, hu yaaseh shalom aleinu, v'al kol yoshvei teivel. V'imru: Amein. May the One who makes peace above make peace for us and all who live with us on the earth. Amen.
Donate to the JFHC's Ukraine Crisis Fund by clicking below.