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International Fellowship of Christians and Jews Is Providing Emergency Aid

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, Founder and President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews: “We will do everything in our power to ensure that no Jew will be left homeless, go hungry, or not be able to emigrate on aliyah to Israel.”

CHICAGO, February 9, 2015 -- Increasing violence in eastern Ukraine in recent weeks has left dozens dead and more than 100 wounded, and drastically escalated the humanitarian crisis in the region. In response, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) is providing a three-month emergency grant of $650,000 for medicine, food, housing, and security to Jews caught in this crisis in the port city of Mariupol and surrounding areas. This is in addition to the $10 million it has already provided since the start of the conflict a year ago. Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of The Fellowship, said, “We get worrisome updates constantly; our prayers are with those in need. We will do everything in our power to ensure that no Jew will be left homeless, go hungry, or not be able to emigrate on aliyah to Israel.”

David Mondshine of Chabad’s Federation of Jewish Communities (FJC) in the former Soviet Union, which is funded by The Fellowship, added that “The general ambiance in Mariupol in Ukraine is of fear, especially when people thought the situation ended and now it began once again…People are confused as of now, and no one can say whether the violence will spread out to different cities as well, or when it will end.”

Last week, CNN reported that a senior U.S. State Department official on board Secretary of State John Kerry's plane to Kiev described eastern Ukraine as a “dire” security situation, and warned of a “grave acceleration of the fighting on the ground.”

The Fellowship’s immediate response to allot an additional $650,000 in emergency humanitarian aid will provide three months of medicine, food, supplies for soup kitchens, and security for synagogues and other Jewish institutions in the embattled cities of Donetsk, Lugansk, and Mariupol. In addition, the funds will cover temporary housing costs for Jewish families who fled the unrest in eastern Ukraine. The Fellowship will also increase the discretionary fund it provides 23 rabbis throughout Ukraine so they can help members of their communities who now find themselves alone and in increasingly dangerous situations.

The Fellowship also operates a refugee camp in Zhitomir, Ukraine, together with Chabad's FJC. Currently, 50 Jews arrive each day, having fled their homes in the east. So far, over 2,500 Jewish refugees have stayed at the camp. The Fellowship sends $6 million a year in aid to Ukraine through Chabad’s activity in the region.

About The Fellowship

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) was founded in 1983 to promote better understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews, and build broad support for Israel. Today it is one of the leading forces helping Israel and Jews worldwide — and is the largest channel of Christian support for Israel. Led by its founder and president Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, The Fellowship now raises more than $140 million per year, mostly from Christians, to assist Israel and the Jewish people. Since its founding, The Fellowship has raised close to $1 billion for this work. The organization has offices in Jerusalem, Chicago, Toronto, Seoul, and São Paulo, Brazil.

For further details, contact: Ryan Greiss, Puder PR, New York: (212) 558-9400; [email protected]

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