By Deb Silverthorn
The Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas mobilized its resources quickly when war broke out in the Ukraine Feb. 24. It immediately joined the Jewish Federations of North America emergency campaign to raise funds for the crisis.
“We have raised more than $288,000 by more than 540 donors — many in the thousands and tens of thousands of dollars for this effort,” said Bill Finkelstein, Dallas Federation board chair at press time Monday. Donations continue to come in every day.
Realizing there was immediate need, and a way to put local dollars to work right away, the Federation and other agencies and donors came forth, together. In the last week, the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center, Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, Dallas Jewish Community Foundation, Jewish Family Service of Greater Dallas, Legacy Senior Communities, Inc. and other organizations and congregations joined the effort. “Never in recent history has such a collaborative effort come together by our community’s agencies. The incredible penetration of support from throughout the community is absolutely heartwarming,” said Finkelstein.
“This all moved so quickly and there have been so many wanting to help and do good,” said Rabbi Mordechai Harris, Dallas Federation interim COO. “People are turning out, dollars are coming in and it is absolutely inspiring to see the response to the need to help our fellow Jews around the globe. We’re there today to be impactful because that is the work of the Federation community.”
The Dallas Federation has also reached out to the non-Jewish community through its Jewish Community Relations Council to mobilize support.
The JCRC contacted the Eagle Mountain International Church in Tarrant County for support in the effort, and Pastors George and Terri Pearsons and their congregation responded with a $10,000 pledge.
Eagle Mountain International Church, which made the pledge after speaking with JCRC Executive Director Anita Zusman Eddy, is already working alongside Kenneth Copeland Ministries and Keren Hayesod United Israel Appeal to relocate 3,000 Ukrainian Jews to Israel. That partnership continues their dedication; 120 Jews were able to make aliyah with their flights, housing and other immediate needs provided.
“This is the ‘Community Relations’ part of our name at its best,” said Cindy Moskowitz, JCRC chair. “We reached out and received and were supported by those around us in this critical time of need. We are very grateful to the Pearsonses and their supporters for joining us in this work.”
Immediate and short-term needs identified include:
• Helping people make aliyah to Israel
• Securing the local community and its institutions
• Maintaining critical welfare services
• Assisting internally displaced people in multiple locations
• Launching an emergency hotline
• Securing temporary housing for people in transit
• Purchasing satellite phones to maintain communications across the region
• Securing five Jewish schools and training staff to manage crisis needs
Funds will be allocated through Jewish Federations’ core partners, The Jewish Agency for Israel, The Joint Distribution Committee and World ORT, and others who are on the ground in Ukraine, and will provide critical welfare where it is needed most and support to protect and safeguard Ukraine’s Jewish community as well as Jews in neighboring countries.
To donate through the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, visit https://jfgd.givingfuel.com/2022-ukraine-crisis. To donate through the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, visit www.tarrantfederation.org.