KIEV, Ukraine (JTA) — The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews provided humanitarian aid to Jews in a central Ukrainian town.
The IFCJ provided funds for clothes, food and other aid for the Jews of Kryvoy Rog through the Ohr Avner Foundation of Jewish billionaire Lev Leviev and other foundations.
Leviev, president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of the former Soviet Union, approached Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, head of the IFCJ, to request aid for the community.
"The Friendship Fund’s assistance came at a critical moment," Leviev said. "The Jewish community in the CIS has fully felt the impact of the global financial crisis. The difficulties that we faced in the search for funding are enormous.
"Being familiar with the friendship as a charitable organization, I turned to Rabbi Eckstein. The Friendship Fund is helping to support the work of the Ohr Avner Fund’s educational projects."
Meanwhile, the Jewish community in Kryvoy Rog — estimated at 12,000 in a population of approximately 700,000 — also held its own charity event to purchase warm clothing for the community’s many needy families.
The IFCJ expanded both the range and number of products included in the emergency food parcels it finances. Approximately 233 Kryvoy Rog residents receive food aid.
Eckstein created a special fund for Jews in the countries of the former Soviet Union estimated at $10.5 million for social programs for children enrolled at Jewish educational institutions run under auspices of FJC Russia and $3.1 million for a collaborative project with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. The latter project is aimed at helping children from poor families and orphans, in addition to the elderly and the most impoverished among Jewish community members.