As the world marks three months since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, efforts continue in Israel to absorb Jewish war refugees, both spiritually and materially.
These efforts began two months ago, when news got out that missionaries had converged along the Moldova-Ukraine border to take advantage of the distress of Jews who were running for their lives.
The anti-assimilation group Yad L’Achim immediately dispatched activists to the site to counter the missionaries and assist the refugees.
This week, the organization reported that its campaign has helped some 320 families, numbering 729 people total, who were targeted by missionaries.
Once in Israel, the immigrants are absorbed by a special division set up by Yad L’Achim with financial backing from the Committee to Save Ukrainian Jewry set up by Satmar Hasidim in Kiryas Yoel. Members of the division, new immigrants themselves, reach out to the refugees with all kinds of assistance.
This includes rental subsidies, food baskets, help in finding work, contacting the various municipal absorption departments, assistance in navigating the bureaucracy, and, most importantly, spiritual absorption. It starts with registering children in Torah schools that teach in Russian, enriching every home with Jewish reading material in Russian and installing kosher mezuzot on every door.
In addition to the standard activities offered year round, Yad L’Achim organizes special events for the holidays. On Pesach, it held two public seders, one in Ashdod, which drew 240 immigrants, and the other, in Kiryat Yam, in the north, which attracted 80. During Chol Hamoed a recreational “happening” was held for the children.
Plans are being finalized for special programs for Shavuos.