June 15, 2024
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Help Bris Avrohom Continue to Assist the Jews of Zhytomyr

Bris Avrohom in Hillside has partnered with the Jewish community in Zhytomyr, Ukraine, over the past 15 years, providing assistance in building the community, its institutions and with essential services for the children, orphans, seniors and the infirm.

For the past 27 years, Zhytomyr was a thriving Jewish community, home to over 5,000 Jews. Chabad Rabbi Shlomo and Rebbetzin Esther Wilhelm run an orphanage, an elementary school, a shul and a seminary for young adults. However, the currently dire circumstances have prompted Rabbi Wilhelm to issue an urgent request for aid and the rescue of the Jews in Zhytomyr.

The immediate needs are food, shelter and medication, concurrent with their urgent and desperate need for relocating to safety. Bris Avrohom has already sent aid to provide for necessities and transportation out of Ukraine, and was intimately involved in airlifting all 60 children from Zhytomyr’s orphanage to Israel, where they arrived safely and were greeted by dignitaries during the past week.

Rabbi Mordechai Kanelsky of Bris Avrohom reported that 14 busloads of people have been transported to Romania where they were provided with hotels and food. He said that two additional buses were set to rescue residents from Berditchev.

Rabbi Kanlesky emphasized that “those who went to Romania left literally with the clothes on their backs … leaving everything else behind.”

Some of the children were rescued to the most western part of Ukraine in the Carpathian Mountains with Rebbetzin Esther Wilhelm. However, their basic needs require funding. The gabbai remains in Zhytomyr in his leadership role there, maintaining moral support, supervising distribution of hot meals and providing packages of food to those in need. Rabbi Kanlesky said that one of the central functions of the shul has shifted to becoming a storage and distribution center for food.

He added that there are still a few thousand Jews in Zhytomyr, primarily the elderly, the ill or those with no passport to enter another country.

On behalf of those Jews of Zhytomyr, Rabbi Kanelsky and Rabbi Wilhelm thank those who have donated to make this aid and rescue possible, and appeal to those who can to help the Jews of Zhytomyr during this time of crisis.

“In the merit of fulfilling ‘kol Yisrael areivim zeh l’zeh,’ that all Jews are responsible for one another, we will be rewarded by God,” said Rabbi Kanelsky. “Just as God performed great miracles for the Jewish people in the month of Adar, He will do so again for us now and save our nation, wherever they may be. May it be the greatest miracle, the revelation of the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu.”

To donate for the aid and rescue of the Jews of Zhytomyr, contact Rabbi Kanlesky by emailing [email protected] or calling him directly at 908-289-0770.

You can also bring or mail checks payable to “Bris Avrohom/Zhytomyr” to 910 Salem Avenue, Hillside, NJ 07205.

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