As the holiday of Pesach, the Festival of Freedom, is behind us, I am proud to share this newsletter with you, highlighting the recent activities of the Israel Magen Fund, helping Ukrainian Jews as they fled from war to freedom in Israel. Thanks to your generous donations, we are making a real difference to their lives.
IMF in Eastern Europe
At the beginning of the Ukraine war, Israel Magen Fund partnered with Tzvi Sperber from JRoots who was in Krakow, to help alleviate the tremendous hardships and sufferings of Ukrainian Jews forced to leave home with hardly any possessions.
Thanks to the generosity of IMF donors and Tzvi Sperber’s ability to identify and meet the immediate and changing needs of the Ukrainian Jews, we worked on several different fronts. We donated tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of medication and humanitarian aid which was specifically requested by the Jewish community in Lviv, Ukraine. In keeping with the IMF mission to deliver aid directly to the needy, we ensured that the deliveries were handed over to a Lviv community representative at the Polish/Ukrainian border. The aid was distributed to Ukrainian Jewish families arriving at the Beis Aharon v’Yisrael synagogue, which became a nerve center for locals and refugees fleeing the fighting.
As Esther Bald, the daughter of the local Rabbi, wrote me in a WhatsApp message: “It’s more than appreciated… you are really saving people, it’s unbelievable, thank you so so much!”
Among the items purchased were generators, blankets, mattresses, floodlights, power banks, large fuel and water jerrycans, tents, dry food and more – all according to specific requests received from our contacts in Lviv and Kyiv. We even had to source these in Berlin – as supplies had dried up in Poland.
IMF in partnership with JRoots, also supported a child-care program in Krakow, providing much-needed stimulation for the refugee children and much-appreciated “free time” for their mothers to arrange the next stage of their journey.
IMF in Israel
One good deed leads to another… and this is precisely what happened when IMF received a call from an American donor asking us to arrange an event at the Kotel within 24 hours for the dozens of children from the Zhytomyr Jewish orphanage who had recently arrived in Israel. This, as part of the Nessya Relief Mission, assisting Ukrainian Jews in Israel and Poland.
The children were overwhelmed by the beautiful location, overlooking the Kotel from Yeshiva Netiv Aryeh, and the warm and generous welcome they received. After a BBQ meal, they were each presented with sweatshirt, backpack, toys and a NIS 300 voucher to spend on clothes for Pesach.
And this encounter led to….
The IMF Pesach campaign
We were so impressed with the achievements of Rabbi Shlomo Wilhelm and his staff with the orphaned children from Zhytomyr, that we immediately committed to giving them everything they need for this, their first Pesach Seder in Eretz Yisrael.
Like their forefathers, they left home with just a few belongings hurriedly thrown into bags. After a long, tortuous journey, they are now living and learning together in Ness Harim, a small moshav in the Judean foothills.
And until that meeting with IMF and our American donors, Rabbi Wilhelm had no idea how he was going to provide for these children for Pesach.
Thanks to the generosity of IMF donors, including Vaad Hatzala of Agudath Israel of America, we have purchased and delivered to these young orphans food for the entire seven days of Pesach, so that they can truly savor the taste of freedom.
We have bought tons of matza, meat, chicken, fish, wine, fruit and vegetables for about two hundred women, children and orphanage staff for seven days! And we covered the cost of koshering the kitchens.
May I take this opportunity of wishing you all a Hag Pesach Kasher ve’Sameach and thanking you, on behalf of the Ukrainian Jews you have helped, for your generosity.
Co-founder, Israel Magen Fund