Last week’s latest Fellowship Freedom Flight brought nearly 100 Ukrainian Jews to Israel. But many members of Ukraine’s Jewish community have not yet been able to make aliyah, and as The Jerusalem Post’s Sam Sokol reports, those in the eastern part of the country are reliant on aid from The Fellowship and its partners:
Every day Jews wait on line outside of the Beth Menachem synagogue in Donetsk, waiting for food packages and hot meals. Gone are the days when this industrial city was the primary producer of kosher comestibles in Ukraine, exporting its products to Jewish communities throughout the country.
Over the last year and a half, the city has become dependent on humanitarian aid provided by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, with the Kashrut Committee of Ukraine (KCU) – the rabbinic certification agency based there – having moved to safer environs.
While more than 10,000 Jews made Donetsk their home in late 2013, only around one quarter of that number remains, the rest having fled the civil war and the Russian-backed insurgents who last year made the city their capital.
Among those who left was Rabbi Pinchas Vishedski, the Israeli-born Chabad hassid who has served as the city’s rabbi for two decades. Last July, during the initial stages of his city’s rebellion against Kiev, Vishedski was defiant, proclaiming that he would not leave.
“I have a responsibility to the people who remain here, no matter how hard or dangerous,” he told The Jerusalem Post at the time.