Chabad Shluchim joined the first ever mission of American Jewish leaders to Ukraine to explore the dynamics of the crisis facing Ukrainian Jewry. Rabbi Shlomo Peles, director of JRNU, the Chabad relief agency that coordinates the efforts throughout Ukraine and Rabbi Dovid Eliezrie who serves as the senior advisor to JRNU joined the mission.
Rabbi Peles explained, “The Jewish Federation of North America have been crucial partners with Chabad in providing humanitarian relief to the Jews of the Ukraine.” On the mission were Federation leaders from across the US, representatives of the Jewish Agency to Israel and the JDC. Rabbi Dovid Eliezrie noted. “We are proud to be partners with the Federation and the other major Jewish groups who have played an important role in Ukraine, the JDC and the Jewish Agency.” Eliezrie also serves as a member of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency.
Federation leaders participated in a briefing by the Chabad representatives in Munkatch on the scope of Chabad efforts in Ukraine. “Chabad today has centers in 35 cities serving over a hundred communities. The Shluchim and Shluchos who have remained in Ukraine despite the war are true Jewish heroes of today,” said Rabbi Eliezrie. He explained to the American Jewish leaders that Chabad has been active in the region for over two centuries. “First during Czarist times, under Communism the Chabad network went underground only to emerge with the fall of the Soviet Union. This is home turf for us,” he said.
Rabbi Peles noted that the Chabad Shluchim are woven into the fabric of the local Jewish communities. “They know the young children and their grandmothers. As part of these communities for decades they have an intimate understanding of the needs,” he said.
The briefing was presented a joint training program of the Jewish Agency and Chabad educators in Munkatch. Peles noted, “The Jewish Agency shared its unique expertise on stress and resilience, training our staff from throughout the country to help Jews in cities and towns across Ukraine cope with this unprecedented challenge.”
Rabbi Eliezrie continued on the mission with Jewish Federation leaders visiting facilities in Ukraine and Hungary operated by the Jewish Agency and the JDC. “We continue to work with both JDC and JAFI to help the Jews of the Ukraine.”
The Federation mission was led by JFNA CEO Eric Fingerhut and National Campaign Chair David Heller. Joining them were Federation leaders from across the US including David Brown, vice chair of JFNA.
Eliezrie explained, “JFNA has been a major funder of Chabd humanitarian relief in Ukraine, this is an exciting new dimension of the cooperation between the Federation and Chabad that exists on a local level in Jewish communities in North America.”