The Minneapolis Jewish Federation board approved an emergency allocation of $200,000 to the Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Agency for Israel to support the Ukrainian Jewish community in the wake of Russian attacks, which began late Wednesday evening U.S. time.
“Having the largest population of elderly Jews in the former Soviet Union, and a budding new generation who are choosing to return to their Jewish heritage, we have continued to invest heavily in Ukraine,” said Minneapolis Jewish Federation CEO Jim Cohen and Board President Todd Leonard in an email that went to the community Thursday afternoon. “Not only will we help do what is necessary to protect Ukraine’s Jews, but we will also help to maintain the continuity of the community they have so valiantly tried to build and sustain.”
The emergency allocation will go to “immediate needs on the ground, including help for some to make aliyah, adding to food and supply stockpiles, and the purchase of more emergency communication equipment.”
The MJF board also approved opening a special fund, all of the proceeds of which will go to the Jewish Federations of North America’s fund to help organizations on the ground.
Ted Flaum, the CEO of the St. Paul Jewish Federation, said that they are monitoring the situation and are in touch with JFNA as to what is needed. That organization sent out a link to JFNA’s fundraising effort Friday morning, Feb. 25.
“Besides the big three overseas organizations, JDC, JAFI, and World ORT, there are other Jewish organizations that JFNA is contacting to do assessments,” Flaum said. He mentioned Hillel International has locations in Ukraine, as does Moishe House. “I’d imagine there will be a campaign to help, but what that looks like may be premature. What does that help look like? It’s all up in the air.
“Yes, [St. Paul] Federations will do something. We want to make sure we have more guidance and accuracy in terms of what’s needed.”
According to the American Jewish Committee, an estimated 300,000 Jews live in Ukraine, which gained independence in 1991.
“We are ever mindful of the large Jewish community in Ukraine and are remaining in close touch with Jewish communal leadership to monitor the situation and support them in any way we possibly can,” said Jacob Millner, the AJC’s Associate Director, Department of Regional Offices. “We are reaching out to Ukrainian communities outside of Ukraine, including in the U.S. and Europe, to express solidarity and to make clear our eagerness to participate in any advocacy efforts, campaigns, vigils, and rallies that might be organized in support of Ukraine at this time.”