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Rabbi Chester's Trip to Poland—Day 1

04/14/2022 11:01:31 AM

Apr14

Members of Temple Sinai, I want to thank you for your very generous donations to help the Ukrainian refugees. You have collected over $65,000 at last count. Our group of 23 rabbis and two cantors has collected over $500,000. In addition, we have brought over two tons of supplies (see us in front of all the bags) in one of the pictures below.
We began our day at the Krakow JCC which is coordinating our mission. The JCC works with many other organizations in Krakow to help refugees. All of these organizations, including the JCC, give aid of some kind to all refugees regardless of their race, religion or sexual orientation. The JCC houses a preschool and a women's shelter.
Another picture shows many refugees in front of the JCC waiting to receive food, medicine or clothing.
In the morning, we learned about the growing Jewish community of Krakow and heard an 85 year-old Holocaust survivor speak of her Holocaust experience plus how positive she feels about taking in refugees. She says it is our Jewish duty to do so. What should have been done to save us we should do for others.
In the afternoon, we met with a jewish Ukrainian woman, Natiya, who fled the Ukraine. She owned a successful business in her home town and as she said, “Overnight it was gone.” She then started crying and told us how she and her 5 year-old daughter left Ukraine and eventually settled in  Krakow and how the JCC has helped her settle in. She now works for the JCC helping other refugees. Her husband is still in the Ukraine.
Finally, we went to a partner organization which also helps refugees settle.
Krakow is a city of 800,000 people and presently there are 100,000 refugees there. The JCC and other organizations help to clothe them, feed them, provide medical care and find housing for them. There are no refugee camps in Poland. The refugees in Poland are all taken care of by Polish citizens. The JCC also sends supplies across the border into the Ukraine to help which is why both money and supplies are needed. Thousands of dollars a day are spent on these projects. Tomorrow to the border!

Mon, December 5 2022 11 Kislev 5783