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Dear Community Members,

As we enter the fifth week of the horrific attack on Ukraine, we want to update you on how your funds are allowing meaningful action to be taken there. The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg has sent $150,000 to our partners at the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI); they are now using it for their life-saving work.

Last week, Adam Minsky, CEO of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto visited Poland as a part of a Jewish Federations of North America leadership mission where they met with Jewish refugees who have fled the war in Ukraine, as well as our partner organizations working around the clock to save lives.

They went to show our community’s solidarity, to ensure the Jewish Federations of Canada’s emergency investments are being optimized to meet ever-changing needs on the ground, and to better understand this rapidly-evolving crisis.

Below are some powerful excerpts from Adam’s report we felt important to share with you:

At multiple border crossings, the first thing one sees when leaving Ukraine and entering Poland is an extraordinary image: an Israeli flag waving proudly. Each one is planted next to a transit centre staffed by the Jewish Agency and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), funded by Jewish Federations of Canada (JFC) and Jews worldwide. Every day, their teams greet a sea of women, children, and elderly fleeing Ukraine, painfully separated from sons, husbands, and fathers required to remain in the country. For the thousands of Jews escaping the terror of war, the flag is a beacon of safety no less than the border itself.
 
For most who are arriving, it was the life-saving support of the Jewish Agency and JDC—from food and supplies to evacuation—that enabled them to make it to the border. Amid desperate conditions, the organizations are continuing to serve as a lifeline for the tens of thousands of Jews who remain in Ukraine.
 
Once arriving at a transit centre, the needs of refugees are triaged. Food, water, and medical and psychological support is provided as they await the next step in their journey: a bus trip to accommodations secured by the Jewish Agency and JDC in Poland’s cities. While supporting Jewish refugees, no one is turned away from help at the transit centres—an example of the impact of the Jewish people beyond our community.
 
For Jews seeking to make Aliyah (immigrate to Israel), the Jewish Agency guides them through the process—from documentation to mass air lifts to eventual resettlement in Israel. More than 7,000 have already been processed for Aliyah, with tens of thousands expected to come in a growing wave from Ukraine. Tens of thousands more are likely to make Aliyah from Russia as the country slips deeper into political instability, economic ruin, and isolation.
 
Many of us have family roots from Poland and Ukraine. Could our ancestors have ever imagined a world in which the flag of a sovereign Jewish state would be flown on the soil of Eastern Europe as a symbol of rescue? That the Jewish people could send airplanes to bring Jewish refugees from the edge of a warzone to a secure and thriving Israel?
Over 100 Jewish organizations across Canada have issued a unified statement of solidarity with the people of Ukraine and our Ukrainian-Canadian neighbours. We’ve witnessed this solidarity not just with words, but with meaningful action; in the rallies, in which Jews and Ukrainian Canadians have stood shoulder-to-shoulder in opposition to this shameful attack on a sovereign state, and through the valuable funds which are making a world of difference in helping people in Ukraine weather this crisis.
 
While few could have predicted this crisis, the Jewish people have long prepared for such emergencies. The worldwide Jewish community has built an unparalleled systemone that CJA has invested in for generationsthat enables us to deliver life-saving care to one another on a global scale at a moment’s notice.
   
We are partnering today with the same leading agencies that supported Holocaust survivors in Displaced Persons camps in post-war Europe (the JDC), that mobilized Aliyah operations for more than a million Jews from Yemen to Ethiopia to Russia (the Jewish Agency), and that has enabled Jewish immigrants and refugees to join and enrich our Winnipeg Jewish community for decades (Jewish Child and Family Service).

Their combined efforts enable our Federation to bring together and strategically support all the different elements that define how the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg responds to this crisis—from saving lives in Eastern Europe, to resettlement in Israel and Canada, to mobilizing volunteers and solidarity efforts with Ukraine here in Winnipeg.

We will continue to be here for the people of Ukraine throughout these tragic times and lend a helping hand in any way we can.

Please consider donating to the Ukraine Emergency Relief Fund today.
Donate Now

On this Shabbat, we pray for peace in Ukraine and the safety of all of those in harm’s way.

Sincerely,

Gustavo Zentner
President
Elaine Goldstine
Chief Executive Officer
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