In December 2016, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago launched its Aleppo Assistance Fund with an initial grant of $25,000. Coupled with support from 268 generous donors, our community has provided a total of $118,892 in aid thus far to assist victims of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria.
The Fund has provided relief to Syrians through support of the Jewish Coalition for Syrian Disaster Relief, Ziv Medical Center in Tsfat, Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya, and IsraAID.
These organizations have been at the forefront of relief efforts and meeting needs since the early days of the crisis in Syria.
During the past three years, the Jewish Coalition for Syrian Disaster Relief, a group convened by one of our primary overseas partners, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC)-of which the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago is a member-has provided $2 million of humanitarian aid to Syrians. The funds are reaching hundreds of thousands of people-especially women and children with severe medical conditions due to abuse, torture, and mutilation. The Israeli medical facilities have served more than 2,000 Syrian patients, most of whom arrive to the hospitals in Israel in critical condition.
"Humanitarian catastrophe transcends distance and religion," said Steven B. Nasatir, Federation President. "As Jews, it is our responsibility to step up when we see injustice and suffering in the world."
With total Syrian civilian deaths over the last five years of conflict reportedly totaling some 450,000, including 50,000 children, the latest atrocities in Aleppo-including chemical warfare, according to the UN-write another dreadful lament in the 21 st century dirge of savagery and indifference.
Guided by the Jewish values of repairing the world and welcoming the stranger, the Federation has responded to the crisis through monetary contributions, fostering relationships and providing educational programs with key Chicago Syrian community organizations. Local synagogues have also welcomed Syrian refugee families through HIAS Chicago, a program of Jewish Child & Family Services and a partner with the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago in serving our community.
"Our Chicago Federation has always been at the forefront of disaster response," said Michael H. Zaransky, Federation Chairman. "The funds we've been able to send through the Aleppo Assistance Fund, as well as other efforts on the ground at home and abroad, are a testament to the ongoing generosity of this community."
To contribute to the Aleppo Assistance Fund online, visit https://donate.juf.org/jfaleppo. You may also send a check to the Aleppo Assistance Fund, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, 30 S. Wells St., Chicago, IL 60606. As is Federation policy, 100 percent of all funds will be distributed without any administrative cost reimbursement to the Federation.