Last night, more than 300 JCC and Jewish leaders from 17 countries and more than 100 JCCs and Jewish communities gathered on zoom to listen to and support JCC directors representing more than 30 Jewish communities in Ukraine and Moldova. The magnitude of the tragedy and the humanitarian crisis was brought home as they told us about their personal experiences. These are outstanding leaders that have been involved with JCC Global and the Amitim programs for many years and led successful partnerships with peers from around the world, many of whom were present at the call. Until a week ago our calls revolved around joint programs and initiatives, but not this one. With lives being transformed and shattered, they shared with us the reality on the ground.
Oksana Mantuzova, the Director of Beit Graham JCC in Krivoy Rog, spoke about the countless ways in which the JCC has become the center of emergency support. She gave one example of 160 students who showed up with no clothes and overnight more than a ton of clothing was donated by the local community.
Inessa Nosenko, the Director of Mazal Tov JCC in Zaporizhia, has mobilized the volunteers that she has trained over the years and how they continue to take care of individuals with special needs who have an even harder time these days. Speaking from a shelter, with her one-year-old grandson crying in the background, she said that he is the no. 1 volunteer that teaches her about the needs of babies and mothers during wartime.
Vadym Farber, the Director of JCC Solomonika in Dnipro, pleaded us not to stand by. As shortage of food and medicine is looming, Vadym and his team are there to help. They have embarked on a humanitarian campaign to help those in need- which as hours go by applies to basically every person living in Ukraine these days.
From the other side of the border, Daria Cotorobai, the Director, of the Kedem JCC- Jacobs Campus in Chisinau, Moldova, has opened the JCC to refugees who are arriving in droves.; mostly women and children (since the men are not allowed to leave). On Friday night they were served a Shabbat meal at the JCC and now, together with other organizations, they are given physical and emotional support.
After a very informative overview from Oksana Galkevich, deputy director, field operations, JDC FSU, we concluded the call singing Ose Shalom and praying for peace!
These leaders are the heroes of this war. All over Ukraine, and the neighboring countries, they are carrying on their shoulders enormous challenges beyond any imagination with such great dedication and sense of purpose.
Please consider supporting some of them (and we will send information about additional ones in a future newsletter):
Solomonika JCC, Dnipro, Ukraine
Migdal JCC, Odessa, Ukraine
“Kol Israel Arevim Ze BaZe” כל ישראל ערבין זה בזה
JCC Global Team
JCC Krakow prepares to welcome refugees
volunteers distributing medicine at Hesed Besht, Khmelnitsky, Ukraine