The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) has donated NIS 28 million to help those in need purchase food and clothing for the holiday season.
The campaign, distributed in the form of tens of thousands of gift cards, is aimed at reaching 100,000 families, senior citizens, Holocaust survivors, single parents, lone soldiers and others nationwide in cooperation with the Welfare and Immigrant Absorption Ministries, and in partnership with government welfare branches and dozens of local organizations on the ground – including Yad B’Yad, Latet, Eshel and Colel Chabad.
“We see that we are amidst a particularly challenging period for the country’s poor, single parent families, elderly and new immigrants fleeing their war-torn homes,” said IFCJ’s president Yael Eckstein. “Prices for even basic needs have gone up considerably, and the demand on the welfare organizations around the country is simply skyrocketing and they are struggling to keep up.”
She stressed that “IFCJ is actively and compassionately working to respond to those demands and doing whatever possible to ensure the needs are met. All this is only possible because of the continued support of over 600,000 friends of Israel from all over the world who serve as our partners in this mission for the last 30 years.”
How much financial aid will be granted to Ukrainian immigrants?
More than NIS 5m. of the aid money has been allocated to 5,000 immigrant families from Ukraine, who have fled after Russia’s invasion earlier this year. Based on the size of the family, each of the 10,500 cards set aside for these families has a value of between NIS 500 and NIS 1,500, and is accompanied by a Rosh Hashanah greeting in both Hebrew and Ukrainian.
Since the outbreak of the war, the IFCJ has spent more than $18 million assisting thousands of families in Ukraine with humanitarian aid, as well as the emergency bringing of families and Holocaust survivors to Israel.
“It’s with a sense of real pride and responsibility that we are able to help these families make their first Rosh Hashanah in Israel something truly special and will hopefully allow them to at least temporarily leave the pain of the past year behind,” Eckstein said.
This will be the first Rosh Hashanah in Israel for many Ukrainian immigrants, including Julia Evel, a mother of three. “On February 24 [at the beginning of Russia’s invasion], an army base was being attacked near our home so I picked up the kids and went into hiding in a nearby cellar where we spent the next two weeks,” she recalled. “I had thought about aliyah to Israel even before the war, but I never thought I would have to run for my life.”
After finally reaching Israel, she has high aspirations for her family’s new beginning in the country.
“This Rosh Hashanah marks not just a new life for us, but a sense of new hope,” she continued. “I hope the new year brings my family still behind in Ukraine here to Israel. I know that we couldn’t be here and be able to live and have our children enjoy their new home and lives without this support.”