Adding to the growing list of East End organizations, business and individuals helping those suffering in Ukraine, Temple Adas Israel in Sag Harbor announced this week that they raised $36,000 in support of the cause. The Temple’s recent two-week fundraising appeal for Ukraine had hoped to reach an $18,000 goal — the number 18 is significant as it represents the word for “Life” in Hebrew — but the community stepped up and doubled that amount.
The funds were divided evenly between three Ukraine relief agencies focused on that country’s Jewish community, including the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), which is on the ground in Ukraine, providing aid to Jews remaining in the war-torn country and the thousands of refugees who have fled to neighboring countries; World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ), which ensures the safety and wellbeing of individuals in Ukraine’s Jewish community, assisting with food, warmth, shelter, security, medical attention and mental health support while establishing a Jewish refugee center in Poland to welcome families fleeing Ukraine; and World Jewish Congress (WJC), supporting their WJC Ukraine Humanitarian Relief Effort and, as necessary, allocating resources to known and trusted relief organizations and agencies.
“I know our temple to be a small and tight-knit community concerned not only about its members but the local community as well,” Ron Klausner, Co-President of Temple Adas Israel, said in the announcement, describing the fundraising effort and his amazement at the results. “I was floored. We collected donations from over 50 congregants in the first hour. All told, we received over double our goal with contributions from so many. I’m really proud of us,” he continued. “We have a very active Social Justice Committee focusing on needs in our local community. The crisis in Ukraine, though definitely not local, nevertheless struck a nerve in our congregation,” Klausner continued. “Maybe it’s because of the horrors we see on television and online, the parallels between Putin and Hitler, or the fact that so many of us have ancestors who emigrated to America from Ukraine during the pogroms of the early 20th century. This is an emotional issue for us.”
Klausner went on to explain, “So many of us feel so powerless in this war. Yet Judaism teaches us if we save one life we save the world. Hopefully, our efforts raising funds for innocent victims of the aggression can save at least one life.”
Temple Adas Israel‘s announcement concluded by sharing their empathy and support.
“We know money alone cannot stop the rockets or tanks, nor will they be able to return lives that have already been lost. Nevertheless, our assistance can and will help ease the suffering of those who remain and remind the Jewish community of Ukraine that they are not alone.”
According to the WJC, Ukraine is home to between 56,000 and 140,000 Jews, making it the fourth largest Jewish community in Europe and the 11th largest in the world.