Even through last month’s celebrations, we have been monitoring news out of Ukraine where relentless shelling by Russian forces has crippled the country’s energy infrastructure. Fifteen people were killed in the city of Kherson by the shelling; another 13 were injured in a rocket attack on Dnipro. An official in the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Saturday that repair work was going “around the clock” to restore electricity in multiple cities, and that the government was working to provide emergency support for civilians struggling without electricity and heat.
And a new wave of targeted missile attacks this week has further damaged the country’s power grid. People are living in the cold and dark—an increasingly dangerous situation with the continually falling winter temperatures.
You can help those in need through JEWISHcolorado’s Ukraine Emergency Fund, every dollar of which goes to support our global partners working on getting Jews out of Russia or Ukraine or helping them stay in their home country if that is what they desire.
Our partner, JDC, has shared this update about what life is like on the ground in Ukraine.
Kyiv: A City Under Fire
In early October, missiles pierced the Kyiv sky. In the weeks since, air raid sirens have become commonplace and a new reality has set in. The threat is now palpable and constant.
In addition to rockets, the city faces dramatic increases in the price of food, medicine, and rent. As of last month, the price of eggs had increased by over 81%, vegetables by over 78% and fruit by 62%.
With power stations and electricity lines under constant bombardment, Kyiv has become accustomed to a new, darker reality. “We have been getting used to not having electricity for 12 hours a day,” Sara Hanna Polushina, a JDC staffer in Kyiv, told us, “The situation has gone from bad to worse.”
There is a nightly curfew, buses have replaced electric trams on city lines and residents have been asked to limit electricity use – especially during mornings and evenings.
With temperatures already dropping below freezing, and heating supplies short, Kyiv’s Jews are battling cold, fear, and uncertainty.
JDC’s Work on Behalf of Kyiv’s Jewish Community Continues
Despite these challenges, JDC’s work continues. The vast majority of our elderly Hesed clients – nearly 7,000 people – remain in Kyiv. These vulnerable men and women rely on us to keep them safe – physically and emotionally. And JDC is working around the clock to ensure their needs are met.
- Providing increased support for food and medicine
- Distributing blankets, heaters, and cash subsidies for utility bills to help Kyiv’s Jews survive the freezing winter
- Continuing to send our dedicated homecare workers to visit and care for the most vulnerable elderly
- Inaugurating the Kyiv Trauma Support Center which will offer group and individual therapy to older adults, JCC families, and internally displaced Jews.
Building Jewish Life and Leaders
At this difficult time, community is more important than ever – and JDC continues to support Jewish communal life in Kyiv, blending traditional events with activities reflecting the spirit of the times. Holiday events included special programs for internally displaced Jews currently living in Kyiv.
Some 55 JDC-supported volunteers regularly bring food and medicine to lonely older adults and struggling families. They also pitch in to help repair homes damaged by shelling.
And despite the conflict, we continue to grow the next generation of leaders. Kyiv’s Active Jewish Teens (AJT) youth group recently hosted a 3-day retreat for teens and parents in Western Ukraine, offering both inspiration and respite to teens and parents alike.