As sirens wail in the streets and missiles fall from the sky, the people of Ukraine flee in large numbers and those who are unable to make the journey to a safer place seek protection in subway tunnels and underground bunkers.
With the recent failure of cease fire talks, the conflict enters another day of escalation as invading Russian troops gain a broader hold, leaving citizens mostly defenceless and in need of support and supplies.
Tens of thousands of civilians are fleeing cities and attempting to cross the borders to safer locations. Chabad houses and Jewish foundations are assisting in any way they can, finding themselves overwhelmed by the numbers of refugees seeking help and shelter. Rabbi Asman, who heads the Chabad house in Anatevka explains how urgent the situation is. “Thousands of families are trying to find shelter, food and supplies at the moment and the community here in Anatevka, are doing everything to provide what they can for them.”
The large Jewish communities in countries that border the Ukraine, such as Poland, have rallied together to begin housing arrangements within their communities for the large influx of Ukrainian refugees that will soon be flooding safer countries around Europe.
No longer able to wait for the Foreign Ministry, Rabbi Asman has independently initiated a rescue flight for fleeing Ukrainian Jews to Israel this evening. He explains that even a long stay at the borders is dangerous and attracts many cases and looting and therefore the safest place now for the Jews is to get to Israel as soon as possible.
“We’ve been able to miraculously arrange refuge in a number of safer locations and a number of Ukrainian Jews who have managed to get out have been sent to America, Israel and all across Europe” Asman Explained. “I believe there is also a group of over a hundred people that are now in Moldova and from there they will continue to Israel.”
With support from the surrounding and international Jewish communities, Rabbi Asman has been able to provide shelter, food and equipment for fleeing Jews as well as soldiers and elderly locals that have nobody else to turn to.
When asked whether there have been people outside his community who have come to him for assistance and shelter, Rabbi Asman mentioned that, “there are people around the world who have connections and contacts here, brothers, sisters, families, friends, that are reaching out for us to help their families, the elderly, the sick and those with language barriers preventing them for receiving information for safety.”
Within the last three day at least a thousand Jews from the Ukraine have been moved out of the battle torn country through the efforts of Rabbi Asman and support of the international communities.
“The fact that we have been able to rescue one thousand Jews, the fact that we are able to move them out of the country independently is a miracle. It gives us a unique sense of determination to continue rescuing as many families as we can before time runs out and it becomes impossible. In order to bring more of our families and friends to Israel we require heavy security and transportation, as well as urgent resources such as food and medical supplies which are scarce. We are just so grateful for the help we receive from the community abroad which makes this mission possible.”