Helping those in Georgia today

"Our Bay Area Jewish community has the opportunity to quickly and effectively respond, through our JCF partners, to provide immediate assistance to Jews affected by the Georgia conflict. We welcome your contributions."

~Daniel J. Sokatch, CEO, Jewish Community Federation

Minutes after Russian planes bombed the cities of Gori and Poti in the Republic of Georgia, Jewish aid organizations supported by the Jewish Community Federation (JCF) began relief efforts to help Jews threatened by the conflict.

Utilizing the expertise of the international Federation system, JCF supported agencies — The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and The American Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) are already on the ground assisting. JAFI has coordinated the evacuation of 200 Jews from the city of Gori, adjacent to the war-torn region of South Ossetia, to safety in the Georgian capital. The JDC field staff, who regularly provide welfare and social services to the 300 strong Jewish community in Gori and serve 70 elderly clients in Piti, were on the scene providing medicines, food, and water and assisting with evacuation efforts of many to safer locations either in Georgia or Russia. Early reports indicated that approximately 100 Jews fled from Gori to Tbilisi, the Georgia capital. In Tbilisi, JDC staff worked with the city’s Jewish community to provide emergency housing and supplies for the refugees.

Traumatized Hesed clients await transport from Gori to Tbilisi aboard JDC’s “SOS” van, ordinarily used to deliver food and medicine to local elderly. The vans have become emergency response vehicles, bringing critical humanitarian aid and relief to victims of the current crisis in Georgia.

Both JAFI and the JDC are important partners of the Jewish Community Federation and are supported by our local Jewish community through dollars raised during the Annual Community Campaign. Federation allocates roughly 40% percent of its total allocatable dollars overseas, and in fiscal year 2008-2009, Federation board approved an allocation of $2.89 million to JAFI and JDC. Thanks to the support of our local Jewish community, we are able to ensure an emergency response system that stands ready to immediately provide resources in this crisis. United Jewish Communities/the Federations of North America has opened an emergency mailbox for Jews and the general population in the Democratic Republic of Georgia/South Ossetia. All funds raised through the emergency mailbox will support JAFI and JDC’s relief work.

A blog called "The Georgia Crisis" will carry updates and dispatches from JDC and JAFI officials in the region to show how campaign funds are already helping Jews in Georgia.

The Jews of Georgia are one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world, though most of the region's Jewish population left for Israel and other Western nations in the past three decades. There are approximately 10,000-12,000 Jews remaining in Georgia, mostly in and around the capital city of Tbilisi. There are Jewish populations in Gori and other Georgian cities near the Russia-supported breakaway region of South Ossetia, where the current conflict began, and South Ossetia has an at-risk Jewish population as well.

Categories: Community, Overseas


August 14, 2008


The Federation