Author Archives: AD Media

Israel Update – 01.11.2023

A Message From Our President, Eva Fischl OAM

On Saturday October 7th, at 9.27 am, Roni Eshel, wrote to her mother “Hey Mom, I’m fine, on duty don’t worry, I love you. 

Her mother replied, I love you too, let me know what’s happening.” 

This was the last communication anyone had with Roni. The family had no news. Was she kidnapped? Killed? Injured? Five other soldiers from her unit were also listed as missing. Six families, left in the dark, not knowing, fearing the worst.  

Nine year old Tamar rushed with her family to their home shelter when the sirens started blaring. Tragically, this seemed one siren too many for the 9 year old’s gentle heart. She suffered a severe heart attack, although doctors fought for a week to save her life, she didn’t survive. 

Twenty-three year old Shani Lok was kidnapped from the Nova Festival, on  October 7th. In video footage released from the terrorists themselves, Lok is seen being brutally dragged into the van, abused. Subsequently, the knock at the door came, the knock that every Israeli fears, bringing news of Shani’s death. She was identified from a bone at the base of her neck. Shani’s parents sent their lovey girl to a music festival, where she was brutally murdered, and now they can’t even bring her body home for burial. 

These stories continue with explicit information about 1,400 people. 


Grief, pain, anxiety, and loss… inexorably intertwined. 

WE are all bound up in this tragedy together. 

Unfortunately, Jews living in the Diaspora are also consumed by fear and anger, frustration and worry, about the waves of antisemitism reverberating around the world, with calls for Jewish genocide in North America, Europe, and even in our country, Australia. 

John Lennon has a song called “Imagine.” Imagine, a world without Wars. Imagine how Gaza could flourish without Hamas and without terrorism. Imagine how life would be in Israel IF we could have peace with all our neighbours. Imagine our communities without antisemitism. 

Unfortunately, I can’t see this utopian world, being realised in the near future. 

However, I can assure you that the JDC (The Joint) is there… working hard to make a better world than we have. It is impossible to list all the work the Joint is doing, as they are the right hand of the Israeli Government in Social Service Provision, at all times. 

During war, the most vulnerable are even more at risk… 

Just one example: at the Dead Sea JDC (the Joint) has erected as much of a haven as it can, for thousands of children. They are in hotels, they have erected tents, which they have beautified, with toys, furniture, and all sorts of reminders of their usual environment. They are working to create an oasis for traumatised children. They are providing ’the miracle” of a stable life for the children affected by trauma, in the middle of a horrendous war. The Joint is partnering with the parents, professionals, and doctors to give an anchor to these children who have experienced such fear and terror. 

One can cry for these beautiful children, who are growing up with the sound of sirens, fleeing, terror, and fear. 

But we, at Joint, are there for them and their parents, buffering their terror, in the best way we can, using the 109 years of experience, that this organization has gained in times of peril and disaster, 

PLEASE DONATE TO THE WORK OF JDC (JOINT) as we help the Children of Israel, the next generation of Israeli citizens, as they navigate through the debris of tragedy, to find a small haven of ‘normality.’ 

Thank you, 



The Joint Australia - Ukraine

Voice from the Ukraine Crisis

A Holocaust survivor, Natalia Y, 94, escaped her hometown of Pervomais’k, Ukraine, within an inch of her life. That was 1941 when she and her family fled along with thousands of others on evacuation trains. More than 82 years later, Natalia is experiencing a different sort of crisis in Ukraine — but thankfully, she has all of us at JDC, along with our longtime partners at Claims Conference.

Now that we’re in the middle of the High Holidays, Natalia meditates on the sweetness of Jewish life and the care she receives in Odesa, where she now lives.

Here is Natalia in her own words:

Two years ago, I tripped over a stool and hit my head. I became immobilized. That’s when Tanya, my JDC homecare worker, entered my life.

Tanya has a mother. But if she didn’t, I’d adopt her. It’s strange — there’s a huge age gap between us, but we live in unison. We understand each other. She often knows exactly what I want to say in advance of me saying it.

She’s also a lifesaver. She walks with me. She tidies up. She does the washing. She cooks. (Sometimes, when I feel well, we cook together.) Though I cherish these things, here’s what matters most: She acts like she’s family.

Without JDC, I wouldn’t know Tanya. JDC — as well as the Claims Conference — arrived at a crucial point in my life, and since then I’ve found my own Jewishness. At Odesa’s JDC-supported Hesed social welfare center, I’ve learned about Jewish traditions, Jewish holidays, and met other Jewish people like me.

I never had this kind of life as a young girl, during the war.

When the Second World War began, there was bombing, and my family and I escaped on the train. When we arrived in Almaty, Kazakhstan, there appeared six women near our train. They took us by the hand and they took us to their home. They treated us to their famous Almaty apples.

I’ve remembered these apples my entire life. And strange as it may sound, I think about them right now, during this crisis. During the High Holidays, when I dip apples in honey and celebrate Rosh Hashanah with my community, it seems to me that I’m back in Almaty in 1941.

I also feel this sweetness whenever I’m with Tanya or at Hesed. I take the elevator to the second floor of the building, meet one friend after another, and feel some peace, some warmth, filling my life. JDC is divine help — a combination of material, moral, and spiritual support that enriches my soul.