From the Desk of CEO Judy Halper: March 2022

From the Desk of CEO Judy Halper

As we watch the horrors unfold in Ukraine, and the millions of people (many of them children) become displaced, we are reminded once again of how quickly one’s life can be turned upside down. Overnight, people are losing their homes and their livelihoods, and families are becoming separated. Many people will be displaced for a very long time, and possibly never reunited with their homes and neighbors. Many will die.

Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis has played a critical role over 112 years helping people (refugees and immigrants) in need of resettlement. In fact, many of the people we resettled in the latter part of the last century were from Russia, Ukraine, and other countries of the former Soviet Union. Today, these same families, whose roots run deep in our community, are watching the war and destruction in Ukraine, and worrying about family and friends still living there. Others are worrying about loved ones still living in Russia. JFCS is fielding calls from people who are desperate to help their loved ones in that part of the world, and we are helping to connect them with organizations who might be able to offer help and hope.

Earlier in March, as part of Refugee Shabbat, JFCS helped to organize a drive to assist Afghan refugees who are currently being resettled. Many schools and synagogues supported this event, and many community members participated in doing what they could to help these new Minnesotans. It’s difficult to know what to do amid so much suffering. Yet it’s a well-known fact that doing something, however humble or small to ease another’s pain, will help to reduce the sense of helplessness.

I encourage you to take a look at the blog JFCS Family Life Educator Leah Persky wrote to help parents talk with their children about war. Make a donation if you can to an organization that is providing on-the-ground support to the millions in need. Keep the images alive of the people who need our help, and find a way to channel your feelings of helplessness to feelings of empowerment.