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Jewish Federation mobilizing to help in Ukraine

The Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City, alongside Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), is mobilizing to help the estimated 350,000 Jewish residents of Ukraine through the Ukraine Assistance Fund. The Jewish community has not escaped the escalating turmoil, leaving many in need.

JFNA partner agencies have activated emergency response systems on the ground in Ukraine to ensure Jewish residents remain safe and continue to receive basic needs. Federation partner American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee has activated its emergency response network to ensure continued home deliveries of food, medicine, heating and cooking fuel, and sustaining life-saving care at home for the elderly. It has increased security at Jewish communal institutions and Hesed social welfare centers, and has activated special emergency plans for Crimea’s estimated 17,000 Jews. 

“We’re doing everything that we can to provide the basic necessities to sustain life for the most vulnerable in the Jewish population — the elderly, children and impoverished,” said Patricia Werthan Uhlmann, Jewish Federation board chair and JDC board member.

“Of great concern are 72,640 pensioners who receive supplemental assistance from JDC,” said Uhlmann. “They live on about $100 a month government pension. What happens to them if the government defaults?”

Other partner agencies — Jewish Agency for Israel and World ORT are bolstering security at Ukraine’s many Jewish institutions, including synagogues, yeshivas, community centers and Jewish day schools. These security measures are especially important in light of the death of a Jewish day school student’s father during clashes in Kiev, and the recent firebombing of Giymat Rosa Synagogue in Zaporizhia, located 250 miles southeast of Kiev. 

“We want to ensure the Jewish community in Kiev remains safe, gets their basic needs met, and equally important, that they know we are here to support them right now,” said Todd Stettner, Jewish Federation’s president and CEO.

To make a donation online, go to www.jewishkansascity.org/ukrainecrisis2014. You may also donate via phone by contacting Derek Gale, financial resources development director at 913-327-8123, or donate via mail by sending a check to Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City, 5801 W. 115 Street, Suite 201, Overland Park, KS 66211, Attn: Ukraine Assistance Fund.