One Year Into War, IFCJ Pledges 4 Million Dollar Increase in Funding for Jewish Communities in Ukraine and FSU
TORONTO, Ont., February 23, 2023 — In the immediate wake of the outbreak of the war between Russia and Ukraine in late February 2022, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) recognized they would be facing an unprecedented need to support Jewish communities all across the war-effected region. The result has been ongoing relief campaigns that have raised tens of millions of dollars, distributed in cooperation with numerous organizations, most prominently the Joint Distribution Committee (the Joint) and Chabad.
Despite the passage of twelve months since the war began, violence and battles continue all across Ukraine and the local populations continue to suffer, particularly with the harsh winter conditions. In response, the IFCJ has decided to increase its support in the amount of an additional four million US dollars.
The latest funding will be earmarked to purchase food, medicines, clothing, heating and cooking appliances and other supplies specifically intended to help keep people safe and warm. To date, over 70,000 people across the war-torn regions, primarily the elderly and families with young children, have been the beneficiaries of IFCJ support which includes tens of thousands of food packages every month, dozens of generators and more.
“The last year has challenged our world with one of the most tragic and extensive refugee and humanitarian crises since the end of World War II and compelled us to implement a relief response that rivals the scope of the challenge,” said Yael Eckstein, President of IFCJ. “With the needs of these Jewish communities only growing, we are deeply encouraged that through the support of our hundreds of thousands of donors worldwide, we are able to increase our response.”
Throughout the crisis, IFCJ representatives have regularly contacted community and relief professionals on the ground to monitor the changing needs and implement the relevant responses. IFCJ support exceeding 30 million dollars has already been distributed to a variety of agencies working in the field providing immediate security needs for the individual communities, including setting up emergency shelters, gathering medical and food supplies, as well as recruiting professionals and volunteers to offer mental health and emotional support services.
Significant attention has also been paid to allowing refugees to escape the region and make Aliyah to Israel. In the past year, the IFCJ has facilitated 28 dedicated charter flights and assisted over 5,000 people to emigrate to Israel, as well as working in cooperation with the Jewish Agency, Nativ, and the Israel Ministry of Immigrant Absorption to bring thousands more refugees to Israel. In the early days of the war, when the flood of refugees was heaviest, IFCJ personnel travelled to Moldova to support the effort in processing the maximum number of people in the shortest time possible and help overcome a myriad of bureaucratic and practical challenges.
Among them was 22-year-old Katarina Rozagnova, who recalled, “Immediately with the outbreak of the war, our lives were thrown into complete turmoil. In Kyiv, the situation was terrifying, and I know people who were killed in the attacks. I quickly knew that I needed to build a new life in Israel and take my skills and experience to contribute to Israeli society. Even while I know that Israel has its security challenges, I am not living in fear here. My only real concern is starting with a new language, but I know I’m up to the challenge. I can only thank the IFCJ for giving me the support I needed to make this new life a reality.”
“It is our fervent prayer that this war will end very soon and some degree of normalcy can be restored to these people’s lives,” continued Eckstein. “But until that time, it is our pledge that the Jewish community in Ukraine know they will not be forgotten.”
To see more of the humanitarian aid the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews of Canada provides worldwide, check out its website at ifcj.ca.
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews of Canada (IFCJ Canada) was founded in 2003 to promote better understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews and to build broad support for Israel. Today, it is one of the largest providers of not-for-profit humanitarian aid in Israel and is a leading force helping Jews in need worldwide. IFCJ Canada is a registered charity governed by an independent board of directors and led by President Yael Eckstein. For over 20 years, IFCJ Canada has operated alongside a network of Fellowship offices worldwide, including in the United States, Israel, and Korea. The global Fellowship celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, continuing in its mission to bless Israel and the Jewish people — like our world has never seen. For more information, visit www.ifcj.ca.