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The Fellowship responds to urgent requests for help from the Ukraine

International Fellowship of Christians and Jews responds to urgent requests for help from the embattled Jewish community of Ukraine – increases its support to $10 million in 2014 – and calls on the worldwide Jewish community to act now

DONETSK, Ukraine, March 12, 2014 ― Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship), is in Ukraine to show solidarity and support for the Jewish community, and get a firsthand understanding of their needs during a time of turmoil and uncertainty.

“For months now we have received repeated and increasingly urgent requests from Jewish leaders in Ukraine, desperate because of the worsening economic plight and escalating safety concerns, pleading with us for immediate additional help,” Rabbi Eckstein said. “Many Jewish schools, orphanages, and other institutions are on lockdown, with Jews afraid even to walk outside for fear of becoming victims of attack. Needs are growing astronomically as this crisis continues and more and more Jews have fallen into desperate circumstances. The economy of Ukraine is in shambles – and business leaders can no longer support the community because they too have fallen into need. We are a lifeline for the Jews of Ukraine.”

In light of the rapidly deteriorating situation and seeing firsthand the staggering decline, Rabbi Eckstein announced that The Fellowship is increasing its commitment to helping the Jewish community of Ukraine with additional millions beyond the $10 million already promised. “Just last week we sent an added emergency grant of $2M, but this is nowhere near enough to cover the needs during the crisis. It is imperative that the world Jewish community and its aid organizations act immediately and do more now to help.”

In Kiev, Rabbi Eckstein visited a Fellowship-supported Jewish school, met with children preparing for the upcoming festival of Purim, went to a Fellowship-funded home for the elderly, and paid a visit to the central synagogue, where he said prayers for the safety of the community. Later, he met with leaders of the Jewish community who described the stark economic situation they face. Every leader and every organization he met with in the Ukrainian capital pleaded for even greater help with food and basic essentials to meet the overwhelming need.

In Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, the 15,000-member Jewish community feels even more threatened than the community in the capital. The Jews of Donetsk fear that with the crumbling infrastructure and rising tensions, they will again become a target. The devastating economic situation is even more paralyzing in Donetsk, and the business leaders of this Jewish community are fighting for their own economic survival.

“We have given more than $150 million in the past decade to help Jewish communities in need in the former Soviet Union, but now the situation in Ukraine is urgently critical,” Rabbi Eckstein said. “I cannot overstate the need. With God’s help, we must – and we will – meet this challenge. In situations such as this I am so grateful that our donors, Christians in North America and around the world, are quick to show their deep love for the Jewish people. They are rising to meet the urgent call for help by providing financial assistance to help Jews in crisis. It is only their steadfast partnership that allows The Fellowship to respond immediately to feed the hungry, to house the homeless, and to protect those victimized by hate – and I urge the world Jewish community and its aid organizations to increase their efforts and join The Fellowship in helping Jews in Ukraine.”

About The Fellowship

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews 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 in helping Israel, and Jews in need 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 $130 million per year, mostly from Christians, to assist Israel and the Jewish people. Since its founding, The Fellowship has raised more than $800 million for this work. The organization has offices in Jerusalem, Chicago, Toronto, and Seoul.

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

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