From April 9 – April 14, 2022, Rabbi Sanford Akselrad joined a Rabbinic mission to Poland and the Ukrainian Border. The Reform Rabbis collected more than two tons of medicine and personal supplies and raised more than $800,000 for Ukrainian refugees. Congregation Ner Tamid Members generously donated $75,000 to the effort. The Rabbinic group partnered with on-the-ground refugee aid organizations including the Jewish Community Centre of Krakow. There, Rabbi Akselrad met JCC Krakow CEO Jonathan Ornstein and learned how JCC Krakow became a key provider of services directly helping and supporting more than 180,000 displaced Ukrainians over the last nine months.
After Russia invaded Ukraine, Ornstein turned his JCC’s spaces into warehouses for clothing and food, started to provide child care, distributed information about housing and job opportunities, and offered psychological services. Rabbi Akselrad invited Ornstein to visit Congregation Ner Tamid to give Members an update about ongoing refugee relief efforts and all that his JCC continues to do to support the rebirth of Jewish life in Krakow, Poland.