JUF’s Partners on the Ground in Ukraine

Learn how JUF's partners support Ukrainian Jews

Thanks to your support of the JUF Annual Campaign, extensive infrastructure is in place to protect and care for 200,000 at-risk Jews in Ukraine at this critical time. Our primary partners on the ground--the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and World ORT--have swiftly shifted into emergency mode and are working around the clock to provide uninterrupted humanitarian aid to Jews in need and standing at the ready to respond as new needs emerge.

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC)

JDC has served tens of thousands of the country's estimated 200,000 Jews, rebuilding Jewish communal life, and training new generations of Jewish leaders since the fall of Communism.  This work is successful in large measure because it is carried out in a nonpolitical, nonpartisan fashion and is guided by the principles of pluralism, sustainability, professionalism, and cooperation. 

1)      Having started its work there over a century ago, JDC reentered Ukraine 30 years ago, and now has 4 field offices (Kyiv, Dnipro, Kharkov, and Odessa). 

2)      To address the human service needs of Ukraine's most vulnerable Jews, JDC supports a network of 18 Hesed social welfare centers operating in 1,000 locations, as well as through related institutions like Jewish Family Services and JDC's Jewish community volunteers corps.

3)      JDC provides food, medicine, homecare, and other services to some 37,000 poor Jewish elderly (including 9,900 Holocaust survivors) and approximately 2,500 children at-risk and their families. 

4)      In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, JDC launched JOINTECH utilizes technology and other innovations to provide remote care, combat loneliness among isolated Jewish seniors and an online reporting platform for homecare workers.

5)      JDC supports 6 major JCCs (Kharkov, Odessa, Dnipro, Kiev, Zaporozhe, and Lvov), Jewish cultural and holiday programming, runs Jewish family retreats and informal Jewish educational opportunities, and operates METSUDA, a highly successful young adult leadership training program for 16 years, which has more than 380 graduates who have become active in their Jewish communities.

6)      JDC mobilizes more than 3,400 volunteers, including many teens, who reach more than 12,700 beneficiaries annually. This network was critical for JDC's COVID response as well as the 2014 Ukraine crisis. 

Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI)

Like JDC, JAFI has adapted its many service offerings during COVID. JAFI has three shlichim (emissaries) in Ukraine, alongside 90 locally employed staff, and three "mobile Aliyah shlichim" who commute regularly between Israel and Ukraine. Its activities in Ukraine include:

1)      Investing over $1.1 million in security equipment.

2)      Operating eight Sundays Schools and looking to open two more when the security situation permits. 

3)      Running summer and seasonal camps serving 1,270 participants, 172 local counselors and 83 Israeli counselors.

4)      Sponsoring educational leadership programs for thousands of students designed to foster connections to Jewish roots and history.

5)      Coordinating participation for several hundred Birthright Israel trips and longer-term Masa Israel experiences.

6)      Facilitating the Aliyah of over 45,000 Ukrainian immigrants the past 8 years, providing them with a range of absorption services, from employment training to relicensing programs.

JAFI activities in Ukraine have intensified, as the conflict with Russia has grown more serious, with their Eastern Ukraine offices remaining open and active, even as bombings and fighting have taken place since 2014. 

World ORT

In Ukraine, global education network ORT has evolved from teaching 19th century Russian Jews essential trades and professions to providing 21st century skills to empower people and strengthen communities. 

  • ORT in Ukraine supports six schools - one each in Chernivtsi, Dnipro, Odessa and Zaporozhe, and two in Kyiv. These schools cater for more than 3,000 students aged seven to 18.
  • ORT also runs KesherNet centers, predominantly supporting unemployed women in finding employment, as well as an education center in Kyiv and a technology center in Dnipro.
  • Following its exclusion for much of the Soviet era, ORT returned to Ukraine in 1997 with the opening of the ORT school in Odessa, the first in Ukraine.

In August 2000, ORT and the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine signed a memorandum to formalize their cooperation in the fields of general, elementary and secondary professional education. Since then, ORT has made a major impact on the quality of its Jewish schools in the country and subsequently on the Jewish communities in which those schools are located, providing Jewish people with excellence in education for all ages from pre-school to the elderly.


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