Adar 5775/March 2015
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Schechter/Masorti Olami Emergency Purim Campaign for Ukraine:

"Revolution to a War-Torn State"
Masorti Olami and Schechter Institutes call upon all our friends and supporters worldwide to give generously this Purim to a special emergency campaign for our Kehillot and Learning Centers in Ukraine by clicking here. The call to fulfill the mitzvah of Matanot L'evyonim - reaching out to those in need - must be heeded as our Jewish communities in Ukraine confront their new reality: a nation at war.


In Kiev, Kharkov, Chernowitz, Berdichev, Odessa and throughout Ukraine, Jewish communities are in crisis mode: Jewish refugees from Donetsk and other war-torn Eastern areas are looking for shelter. There are food shortages. Prices have skyrocketed due to the steep decline of the local currency. Unemployment is rising, civilians are being mobilized and families face separation.



Their stories tell it all.


Sasha, former director of Midreshet Yerushalayim Jewish Family Center in Donetsk and newly married, escaping the fierce fighting in his hometown, sought refuge with his new wife in Kiev. Kehillat Masoret has found him part-time work teaching Hebrew. More than 25 refugees have found their way to our Kehillat Masoret in Kiev.


Masha, a 10-year old refugee who fled the fighting in Donetsk with her father Andre, has been taken in by the TALI-Shalavim Jewish day school in Kharkov. They live in a small rented apartment in Kharkov, and lack money to buy essentials such as food and clothing. Tearfully, Masha asks Midreshet Yerushalyim's Gila Katz to place a note in the Kotel upon Gila's return to Israel. Masha's prayer is a simple one: To keep her mother and brother (unable to get out of Donetsk due to her brother's serious illness) out of harm's way and to speedily reunite her family. 

Masha is one of 27 refugee children who have found a warm and giving place in the TALI-Shalavim Jewish Day School in Kharkov. The school, which is private, has "adopted" the children, paying for their tuition, and in many cases, providing the basics such as food, clothes, blankets, etc.


Alona, a single mother living alone in Kiev, was recently fired when the local bank she was working for closed up. Her only child -a teenage son - has left for Israel with a youth aliyah program. Kehillat Masoret provides her with a weekly hot Shabbat meal and just as important, a support network.


Dima from Kiev, married with a 4-year old son - a stalwart of Kehillat Masoret, upon receiving his mobilization papers, asks Rabbi Reuven Stamov, half in jest: "When is Purim? Maybe our 'Haman' [Putin] will meet his fate."  As this letter reaches you, Dima has completed basic training and is now serving in the Ukrainian army on the eastern front.


Vladimir, a building engineer, has been unemployed for months as construction in Ukraine grinds to a half. With two children and a wife, he is desperate. 




Basic food supplies for members of all Kehillot, including hot Shabbat meals. Many of our members are out of work; for those working, salaries are often not paid on time; and for those lucky enough to receive a salary, its worth has been drastically eroded while prices continue to rise.


Medicines and Vitamins.  With money scarce, many are unable to pay for essential medicines and supplementary vitamins for children whose diets are no longer balanced. The prices for medicines have skyrocketed in the past three months.


Refugee children at the TALI-Shalavim Day School in Kharkov need food and clothing. Most families in Kharkov are unable to pay tuition and the school is in danger of closing;


Security guards for the school buses in Kharkov are now a necessity, especially after the deadly bombing that took place in the city last week, which was very close to where the school is located. Security guards are a necessity at all our activities throughout Ukraine.


Pesach Seders, Shabbat meals, hot lunches at our Community Sunday Schools. Community activities have become venues for providing physical, as well as spiritual sustenance.


Scholarships for Camp Ramah-Ukraine and the Ramah Family Camp. Our campers from across Ukraine are looking forward to a two-week respite of Camp Ramah this summer, In light of the wartime conditions, the camp provides vital benefits: three wholesome nourishing meals a day, safe recreation, and a warm and welcoming environment where they can rest from the daily tensions and feel part of the Jewish people. Security needs have made camp more expensive. Many of our families can no longer afford even the very modest fees they paid for camp in the past. Help is needed.


"Our family education centers and kehillot provide a sense of community and spiritual well-being for those who have lost so much. I want the ability to provide both our veteran members and to our new refugee families a hot Shabbat meal every week; Jewish learning to warm their souls, and even some form of livelihood which will put a bit of money in their pockets...and for a few short hours, take their minds off the constant worry that has become their lives."


Rabbi Reuven Stamov, Spiritual leader of Kehillat Masoret, Kiev


In the spirit of Purim, and aiding those less fortunate, give generously today to the Schechter Institutes/Masorti Olami Purim Emergency Campaign by clicking here.