Friends, these are entire communities living under threat. Our...that's OUR...JDC and Jewish Agency are doing their holy work but they are overwhelmed. And, after urging...not committing, urging...our communities to a minor fund raising effort. the Terrorists War on Israel rained down and, apparently, as far as JFNA was/is concerned, its responsibilities, if any, to the Ukrainian Jews were over. This week, as if stirred to action after its own inexplicable inactivity, JFNA has engaged in what passes for its version of FRD -- it meekly called some Large and Large-Intermediate Federation CEOs and begged for a hand-out for the Ukraine. Meanwhile, Yechiel Eckstein's International Fellowship of Christians and Jews has been fully engaged on the ground and in bringing Ukrainian Jews to Israel during this crisis -- doing our work.
"Jewish refugees continue to arrive in Dnipropetrovsk, Cherkassy, Zhytomyr and elsewhere, fleeing the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The Dnipropetrovsk Jewish community reported that while they are doing all they can to accommodate the refugees, hundreds more arrive every day, all in need of food, housing, and medical help. Refugees come from every social class and profession: engineers, lawyers, economists, factory workers, pregnant women, families with children, etc.
All community buildings, including a home for the Jewish elderly and boarding schools, have been turned into refugee centers, where refugees receive meals, accommodation, and psychological help. Forty children who fled the areas of unrest are now attending the Dnipropetrovsk Jewish school.
Due to the prolonged crisis, the resources of the Dnipropetrovsk Jewish community and the city in general are stretching thin. We have received reports that city's hospitals are overcrowded and unable to manage the influx of the sick and wounded.
The situation for those who stay in the areas of unrest is even more disturbing. Luhansk Jewish community said that the city is cut off from electricity and water supply. Pharmacies and banks are closed; purchasing food is becoming increasing difficult. Those who could leave the city have already done so, but the elderly and sick remain.
The situation in Donetsk is similarly alarming. The city is heavily damaged by shelling. Jewish community representatives reported that the local synagogue is still open, however the remaining Jewish community is shrinking every day, as more people are leaving to find a safer place.
NCSEJ also spoke with the Jewish community of Kharkiv, which is also dealing with an influx of refugees. Kharkiv residents are collecting clothes, food, and medical aid for the refugees, and the local government has organized refugee support programs. Close to 2,500 children from refugee families started their school year in Kharkiv's schools. The Jewish community is concentrating its activities on helping the displaced persons, which requires a significant amount of community funding."
It appears to this observer that JFNA's lay and professional leaders just don't comprehend that JDC and JAFI are working 24/7 on our behalf. They are performing our sacred responsibilities. And, when JFNA turns its back on the Jewish communities of the Ukraine, it is all of us turning our backs on them.
This, my friends, is JFNA at its worst, at its nadir of neglect. Not even I can see it getting any lower. You know, JFNA has not even distributed the NCESJ Updates. Ukrainian Jewry...not our problem. Jews will die and the world will not care, but, until now, we always have; but, sadly, not any more.