New Jewish European campaign seeks to house Jewish refugees from Ukraine

It's been two weeks since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war and Europe is being flooded by refugees, many Ukrainian Jews are among them.

  Ukrainian refugees at the Palanca crossing at the border with Moldova, March 3, 2022.  (photo credit: AVISHAG SHAAR YASHUV/IFCJ)
Ukrainian refugees at the Palanca crossing at the border with Moldova, March 3, 2022.
(photo credit: AVISHAG SHAAR YASHUV/IFCJ)

As the war in Ukraine enters a second week, Europe is witnessing a huge influx of refugees fleeing Ukraine toward the West, including many Ukrainian Jews in this surge to safety.

The Brussels-based European Jewish Association (EJA), representing hundreds of communities across the continent, has launched a Europe-wide campaign to temporarily provide homes, food and clothing to hundreds of Jewish families whose lives have been torn apart and upended by the conflict in Ukraine.

The appeal has gone out to Jewish communities from Lisbon to Lublin, Bucharest to Bordeaux, and everywhere in between.

“The history of the Jewish people is one of displacement, either because of pogrom or war,” said Rabbi Menachem Margolin, EJA chairman. “We are only too aware of what it means to be forced to up and leave at a moment’s notice. In almost every one of our communities you will hear such stories. We, the Jewish people, are especially attuned to these catastrophes. And because we are so attuned, we are pre-programmed to help our Jewish neighbors, just as we always have.

“I have faith that this campaign will deliver. Since the war started, Jews from all over Europe have been getting in touch with us to see what can be done to help their Ukrainian Jewish brothers and sisters in need. We are providing them with the vehicle to do just that, by offering shelter, food and clothing to those who left in a hurry, often with nothing but the clothes on their backs.”

Rabbi Menachem Margolin the chairman of EJA (credit: EJA)Rabbi Menachem Margolin the chairman of EJA (credit: EJA)

Another European Jewish organization very active on the ground is the Conference of European Rabbis, which announced this week that Israeli technology investor Yuri Milner has donated $3 million to the CER to help Jewish refugees from Ukraine.

“As we witness the terrible human suffering in Ukraine, the Conference of European Rabbis would like to announce a special donation of $3m. from the foundation established by Yuri and Julia Milner,” said the conference. “Yuri is an Israeli technology investor and science philanthropist.”

The emergency funds will support humanitarian efforts to help Jewish refugees from Ukraine who, like so many vulnerable civilians, are in need of urgent assistance.

“The CER is grateful to Yuri and Julia Milner for their long-standing support and for this latest commitment to the Jewish community at this perilous time,” said CER President Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt.