Kyiv's Jewish community launches emergency $1 million campaign

Kyiv's Jewish community is trying to raise $1 million in order to fund emergency operations in a case of a Russian attack on Ukraine.

 People take part in the Unity March, which is a procession to demonstrate Ukrainians' patriotic spirit amid growing tensions with Russia, in Kyiv, Ukraine February 12, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/VALENTYN OGIRENKO)
People take part in the Unity March, which is a procession to demonstrate Ukrainians' patriotic spirit amid growing tensions with Russia, in Kyiv, Ukraine February 12, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/VALENTYN OGIRENKO)

Kyiv's Jewish community is trying to raise $1 million in order to fund emergency operations in a case of a Russian attack on Ukraine.

A Charidy fundraising site project titled "Help Protect the Kyiv Jewish Community" was launched today by American Friends of Kyiv. One of Ukraine's chief rabbis, Yaakov Bleich, explained to The Jerusalem Post that "We are trying to raise $1 million, which will be transfered to help communities that want security but also for emergency evacuation if necessary." According to Bleich, Ukraine's capital consists of approximately 60 thousand Jews.

Bleich says the funds raised are targeted in assisting the Jewish community of Kyiv in four ways. "Firstly we need more Security" he states, "During the uprising in 2014 one of the things the Russians did was send people to attack Jewish buildings and Jews in order to display Ukraine as an antisemitic country".

"We have people and Jewish institutions that cannit leave the city such as old age home residents, sick people and others with personal issues. We want to make sure these Jews have a shelter in case of an airstrike, enough food and electricity generators so that they can stay in Kyiv but God forbid something will happen to them."

 People take part in the Unity March, which is a procession to demonstrate their patriotic spirit amid growing tensions with Russia, in Kyiv, Ukraine February 12, 2022.  (credit: REUTERS/VALENTYN OGIRENKO) People take part in the Unity March, which is a procession to demonstrate their patriotic spirit amid growing tensions with Russia, in Kyiv, Ukraine February 12, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/VALENTYN OGIRENKO)

Another use of the funds is to assist women and children to leave the city and stay in an off-site temporary camp. "Some of the Jewish communities began to move out of the larger cities and are staying in cities closer to the west of Ukraine.

The campaign site mentions that "The Jewish community currently owns a summer camp about 100 kilometers to the west of Kyiv, an area that is deemed much safer than the big city. The camp is hurriedly being prepared to house up to 320 people from the community, including many children whose parents are sending them out of the path of danger. Preparing the camp for immediate use involves many large expenses, such as winterizing the buildings, purchasing a generator in case of an attack on the electric grid, stockpiling large amounts of food to last for several weeks, and hiring professional security. All of this has to be arranged with the next couple of days. In addition to the evacuation, the community has to cover the expenses of those who had to remain behind, such as the residents of the assisted living home. Armed security had to be arranged for seven buildings belonging to the community, at great expense."

The economic situation in Ukraine is understandably very unstable due to the turmoil and uncertainty. "The community, which is usually self-sufficient, is struggling financially due to this instability and is forced to ask for outside help" the site states, "The enormous expenses are simply too much for them to bear alone".

"We hope in God's help to bring support from large donors and Jewish organizations," says Bleich.