Urgent Message from Rabbi Isenberg on Crisis in Ukraine

We awaken each day to dire reports from Europe. As bombardments on Ukraine persist, the humanitarian crisis worsens. What can we do? How can we help from afar? The agencies and organizations on the ground have been clear: They need money. Contributions go directly and immediately to support real-time life-saving actions. Jewish and Israeli agencies in particular — like United Hatzalah, United Jewish Appeal, The Jewish Agency, Joint Distribution Committee, and Masorti Olami, among others — have responded to this humanitarian crisis swiftly and effectively.

Why has the Jewish response been so robust? Yes, there’s a significant Jewish population in Ukraine — many now refugees. But, also because, as Jews, our collective memory impacts our perspective when it comes to war and assault. We know the consequences of hatred all too well.

The agencies hard at work need our immediate assistance. For instance, The Jewish Agency plans to bring rescue planes to Warsaw each week to airlift Ukrainian refugees to Israel over the coming weeks and months and then the work of resettling them in Israel begins. It takes money to do this effectively.

I’m therefore launching a 5-day CBI fundraising challenge.

Last night, three CBI families came together and pledged $50,000 toward my Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund to be distributed immediately to agencies doing life-saving work. That was an incredibly moving and generous gesture. The pledge came with a challenge: Can the congregation match — or at least significantly add to it — over the next five days?

  • Go to https://cbi-nj.org/donate/ and earmark your donation to the Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund. I will begin issuing assistance to the agencies on the ground immediately and transparently.
  • Do you have another organization in mind that I didn’t mention in this note? Let me know and I’ll assess the possibility of sending some funds their way.
  • In recognition of CBI’s support, Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest’s CEO, Dov Ben-Shimon, will address CBI in an exclusive conversation in a few weeks’ time to share examples of how our funds were used.

We pray from the words of Isaiah, “And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks.”

Rabbi Ari Isenberg