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Message from President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg re: Crisis in Ukraine

March 11, 2022

“If not now, when? This is the time to give help to the thousands of people crossing this border, that lost everything, and are going to build a new life. This is the time to hug and to help," says Israel Sabag, JDC County Director/Romania, from the frontlines of the Romanian border.

At this very moment, Ukrainians are losing their homes, their livelihoods, their loved ones; our Jewish sisters and brothers are not immune to this war. Overnight, many have become refugees, soldiers, aid workers. The atrocities of this war build every day. 

The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg launched the Ukraine Emergency Relief Fund and to date we have raised an incredible $128,864 from 345 donors, that will have a direct impact on the war in Ukraine. Thank you!

The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg has denounced Russia’s illegal attack on Ukraine. We have engaged in conversations with leadership on communal, provincial and National levels and are in continuous contact with the Ukrainian Council on how we can best support them. Please look out for our continued briefings on our website, email and social channels.

Our partners the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) are doing critical, complementary, and coordinated work which leverages funds raised through our Combined Jewish Appeal (CJA) Campaign and our Ukraine Emergency Relief Fund to help the estimated 200,000 Jewish people of Ukraine. 

VIDEO: Israel Sabag, JDC Country Director/Romania, from the frontlines of the Romanian border

The JDC is the leading global Jewish humanitarian organization, working in 70 countries to lift lives and strengthen communities. JDC is the lifeline for vulnerable Jewish elderly and children across Ukraine. Their priority is to provide safety and continued humanitarian assistance for Jews in need throughout this crisis. 

JAFI’s emergency response team is focusing on: Securing safe facilities for displaced Jews; sustaining displaced Jews with basic necessities (food, medicine); providing financial assistance; staffing emergency hotlines; supporting Jewish community organizations; creating an SOS fund for extraordinary individual needs and preparations Ukraine Under Fire. 

  • More information on how our Federation system and partners are helping on the ground in Ukraine can be found in our Community Updates.
  • New information is continuously being added to our Ukraine webpage, please check back here regularly for timely updates.
Immigration & Refugee Update 

As soon as the invasion of Ukraine began, JAFI quickly mobilized to evacuate Ukrainian Jewish refugees, allowing them to make aliya (immigrate to Israel) and providing additional relief for refugees in transit. This past Sundaythe first flights of Ukrainian refugees were welcomed at Ben Gurion airport in Israel and on Thursday night 257 olim (Jewish immigrants) arrived in Israel on flights departing from Poland and Romania. 

For Ukrainians seeking refuge in Canada, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has introduced two new pathways for Ukrainian permanent residents and citizens. Currently, the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program is prioritizing applications from Ukraine and our Federation has requested that IRCC review pending permanent residence applications from Ukrainian candidates on an expedited basis. We look forward to welcoming families seeking refuge.

You can help bring families to safety. Please consider making a donation to the Ukraine Emergency Relief Fund today.
Donate Now

On this Shabbat, we pray for peace in Ukraine and the safety of our Jewish family.

Gustavo Zentner
Elaine Goldstine
Chief Executive Officer
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.