Four Questions For The Rabbi On The Front Lines

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Rabbi Nochum Tamarin has been on shlichus in Ukraine for 24 years. He is filling a unique niche – working with thousands of Jews who live in remote towns and villages in Central and Western Ukraine.

Now, when bombs, rockets and tank shells are raining in on Zhytomyr and surrounding villages, he stays put doing his most critical, life-saving work.

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We’ve talked to him just today to get a sense of how small Jewish communities are doing in war torn country:

-What’s today’s situation on the ground in Central Ukraine?

Rockets and bombardments intensified. Northern Chernihiv region and some other areas are sealed off to the point that no humanitarian help can reach there at all. Some areas could be helped with money to buy locally, some get direct shipment of basic goods.

Basic necessities are getting more and more scarce, there is a sense of great urgency. Very unfortunately it looks like the humanitarian crisis will continue for months to come.

-What’s the most important help people are in dire need of?

Basic food items and life saving medications. Either we buy medications and send them over, or we send money directly to people in need so they can buy locally. Over 2000 families from 160 towns and villages are currently receiving help with food and meds. Our typical food package consists of:flour, oil, noodles, rice, canned fish, sugar, canned corn, canned peas.

-What is the current refugee situation?

Hundreds of families we are following from small villages are moving to Western Ukraine cities such as Lviv. We help organize evacuations of families from small communities we are in touch with. People from destroyed cities of Mariupol and Kharkiv usually run away with nothing, jumping in passing cars, which could be their last chance to escape. Those people need clothing and money for rent, in addition to food and medications. The need is great and getting greater every day, unfortunately.

-Pesach is fast approaching, what are some plans for this year?

In addition to receiving matzos through humanitarian channels, we will create a special Pesach package consisting of matzo, juice, oil, canned fish and meat, eggs, fruits, and vegetables.

We would like to offer more, this year like no other, every single family we support is in dire need. 

Please help us be there for them in this time of great crisis. Every dollar of your donation goes directly to support families in small Ukrainian cities and villages, no overhead. May G-d Almighty bless you with health, wealth, and happiness. Have a kosheren and freilechen Pesach!

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