European cold snap puts needy Jews in danger

(JTA) — Severe weather across Europe has shut down airports and businesses, and made it much more difficult for needy Jews to get assistance.

The unprecedented snow and low temperatures this week in places such as the Baltics, Bulgaria and Romania has required the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee to deliver extra food, medicine and space heaters to its clients in the countries of the former Soviet Union.

Needy Jews ordinarily would travel to special heated canteens for meals and care have been homebound, in some cases for several weeks.

In some cases, JDC also has had to provide extra stipends for high heating bills.

"Despite impenetrable weather and below-freezing temperatures, JDC provides these Jews — among the poorest in the world — with a desperately needed lifeline," said JDC CEO Steven Schwager. "With no other safety net and a total inability to obtain basic necessities, we’re making sure they feel some warmth, and hope, when they need it most."
 

 

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