Kiryat Yam in northern Israel has become home to one of largest groups of Ukrainian refugees in Israel. As a result, the city has become a magnet for missionaries who, true to form, seek to take advantage of Jews’ physical and emotional distress to lead them astray.
In Kiryat Yam the missionaries are assisted by a local church that goes by the name “Ohalei Rachamim” (Tents of Mercy), which to the untrained ear sounds like a legitimate Jewish organization.
Yad L’Achim responded immediately, warning refugees of the danger of the missionaries and providing them an alternative source of material and spiritual aide, so that they wouldn’t have to rely on dubious sources of support.
Yad l’Achim is now in regular contact with 94 families, visiting their homes, distributing food baskets, and conducting Torani activities to deepen their Jewish identity. Russian-speaking activists from Yad L’Achim’s Haifa branch were recruited to help with the homes visits, ahead of the coming school year.
Meanwhile, in cooperation with Kiryat Yam’s Chabad emissary, Rabbi Moshe Oirechman, a Russian-speaking married yeshiva student, Rabbi Dan Zaltopolski, was brought in to coordinate extensive activities for the immigrants and to ensure that they don’t fall into the hands of the missionaries.
This week, in an event meant to boost efforts to establish a kehilla (community) and synagogue for the Ukrainian refugees, a special get-together was held, as part of a series of summer events being held for them.
Forty parents arrived at the “Shaarei Moshe” synagogue to attend a riveting lecture by Rabbi Zaltopolski on Jewish life in the Holy Land and on the importance of Jewish education. The participants were treated to a musical concert and were addressed by the principal of the local Or Avner school, who invited them to register their children.
Many of the parents were excited to learn that the school they sent their children to in Ukraine was part of the very same Or Avner network that operates in Kiryat Yam, with its reputation for excellence.
At the same time, in another room in the synagogue complex, 30 children participated in a creative workshop on how to make mezuzah cases out of olive wood, forming new friendships.
Yad L’Achim salutes the important work of Rabbi Shimon Shisha, who heads the efforts of the Committee to Save the Jews of Ukraine, of the Satmar hasidic sect.
“In light of the threat to the lives of Ukrainian Jews, we are helping them find their place and establish a Jewish framework so that they do not fall, chalilah (G-d forbid), into the hands of the missionaries,” a Yad L’Achim official said “We will remain vigilant in our efforts against the missionaries and continue to provide Ukrainian Jewish refugees with their essential needs.”