Looking Back- 1 Year into the War in Ukraine

Dear Friends,

It is hard to believe that today marks a full year to the day since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. And even more disturbing is that there is no end in sight. This terrible conflict, the most significant European military conflict since World War II, has displaced millions of Ukrainians, ravaged entire cities, torn families apart, and left countless others in extraordinarily challenging and dangerous situations. It is a prolonged humanitarian disaster on a massive scale, and I saw it written on the faces of Luda, Olga, Mihail, Yevgeny, Yana, Anna, and the other Ukrainian refugees I met with in Moldova just a few weeks ago.

Yet, as I reflect on all this loss, I am also filled with gratitude for our incredible Jewish community. This year has been proof of the remarkable and lifesaving impact our Federation system has when we come together to support Jewish communities around the world. Together, 146 Federation communities, including San Diego, have raised more than $85 million for humanitarian aid, relocation assistance, help with Aliyah, medical treatment, trauma care, and other services for those devastated
by the war.  

And what is crystal clear is that the reason our global partners were able to instantly snap into action to save lives and care for Jews in need was because we were already there.  We were already there thanks to your ongoing support and to the day-in and day-out work of our system, building flourishing Jewish communities in the former Soviet Union and around the world. In this moment of crisis, JFNA and the tireless and devoted staff of our global partners, the Joint Distribution Committee, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Hillel International, World ORT, and others, instantly shifted gears and overnight became crisis centers, food distribution sites,  warming hubs, call centers, volunteer collaboratives, and sources of social and emotional support.  

The need is still there; our work is far from over. But at this moment, this one-year mark, as we look back, we are filled with gratitude for the generosity and compassion of our community. 

Moments like these are at the very core of why Federation exists, and none of it would be possible without you.  

Shabbat Shalom,


Heidi Gantwerk
President & Chief Executive Officer


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