JDC is in Turkey Helping Provide Relief and Recovery After Devasting Earthquakes

As of February 7th, 4:00 p.m. local time in Turkey, JDC is one of the few international organizations that have managed to arrive in areas hardest hit by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake and its many aftershocks. JDC’s disaster relief expert and the director of our operations in Turkey are on-site, coordinating with local and incoming international partners to assess emerging needs among both Jewish and non-Jewish communities.

JDC has joined in the frantic efforts on the ground and is focused on search and rescue, clearing massive piles of rubble from pancaked buildings and shattered cars, and addressing the immediate needs of people whose homes were destroyed or damaged. Many people are afraid to return home, worrying that further quakes are yet to come. People are sleeping in their cars, huddling in cafes, and sitting outside on benches in the dust-filled, wintery air. Some are standing by collapsed buildings of family members, trying to keep hope alive as disaster crews work. Thousands of volunteers are desperately helping these crews with their ungloved hands. Hospitals are filling up with body bags and injured people, and ambulances continue to arrive. The mood is a mix of shock, despair, and dwindling hope that missing loved ones will be found alive.

In Turkey, 5,894 people are confirmed to have been killed. There are fears that the toll will rise inexorably, with World Health Organization officials estimating up to 20,000 may have died.

This situation in Turkey is both dire and devastating, and the images and videos coming out of the country are nothing short of heartbreaking.

JDC is moving quickly to care for the immediate needs of the Jewish and non-Jewish survivors and implement a short-medium term recovery plan.


Tauma counselling for Ukrainian Jews

JDC Offers Trauma Counselling for Ukrainian Jews

With the help and generosity of our supporters, JDC is working to respond quickly and effectively to the Ukraine crisis. One of the ways we are doing this is by offering trauma counselling.

Tauma Relief for Ukrainian Jews
Zoom session with a psychologist in war-torn Mykolaiv

While images of destruction and physical devastation dominate the news, the crisis in Ukraine is also taking a less visible toll: the hundreds of thousands of victims suffering from trauma and PTSD. This week’s bulletin highlights the support that we provide to Ukrainian Jews coping with the trauma of fleeing their homes or living under constant threat.

Trauma & Stress: JDC Responds to War’s Hidden Toll

Trauma takes many forms. Over the past few months, JDC has assisted people suffering from domestic violence, anxiety, depression, and some traumas that are unspeakable. This impacts both emotional and physical functioning – making it harder to breathe and at times even move.

  • Hundreds of refugees received trauma relief through JDC
  • Hundreds more expected to receive long-term care
  • 1,500+ served by the trauma hotline

With your support, we are bringing relief to victims of trauma. This work takes place in Ukraine, where we run a trauma hotline for older adults, displaced people, and strained JDC staff. We connect those in need of deeper assistance with those equipped to help.

Recognising that symptoms of trauma persist long-term, we are already preparing for the months ahead. We plan to open trauma centres across Ukraine. These centres will offer group and individual assistance, catering to older adults who never imagined their lives would end up this way, and parents struggling to help their children work through deep-seated anxiety.

While the lion’s share of traumatized and displaced Jews remain in Ukraine, many are refugees in Europe. Since day one, we have offered psychological first aid to distressed refugees. Today, we work hand-in-hand with local Jewish communities.

Jewish youth raising money for Ukraine

Ukraine Telethon at the Central Synagogue to Aid Ukrainian Jews in Crisis

The Joint Australia, in collaboration with The Central Synagogue and the Australian Zionist Youth Council have united to adopt a ‘sister community’ in Odessa, Ukraine with a successful Charidy call-a-thon kicking off last Sunday morning.

Eighty volunteers, mostly members of our youth, prioritised this mission and invested both time and energy to reach out to our generous community to raise much needed funds. Every dollar raised will be immediately directed towards the urgent care and needs of 120 displaced Jewish children from the Mishpacha Orphanage of Odessa currently in Berlin, and also for the wider Jewish community within the Ukraine.

Ukraine Telethon at the Central Synagouge to Aid Ukrainian Jews In Crisis

There was a strong sense of camaraderie in the Central ‘call centre’. All on donation duty took their roles seriously, recognising the huge impact each dollar will have during these dire and desperate times. Some novice practiced calls to parents prior to dialling members and then confidently delivered their rationale for requests. All quickly found their rhythm and the overarching purpose added momentum and urgency.

Hineni Youth, Bnei Akiva, along with other representatives from our younger demographic in addition to parents, Kesser Torah College and so many others united. Day One was heart-warming and over $100,000 was raised with more donations to follow.

Rabbi Avraham Wolff is the Chief Rabbi of Odessa and has overseen the evacuation of these brave children – from babies to teens, with war still raging daily.

telethon for Ukrainian jews

Ukraine Telethon

Telethon for Ukrainian refugees

Ukranian Holocaust Survivor

Ukrainian Holocaust Survivors Find Support with JDC

A group of dedicated JDC workers have chosen to remain in Odesa, to offer comfort and support to Ukrainian Holocaust survivors even as rockets continue to rain down. One of them is Inna Vdovichenko. Below are some of Inna’s reflections on what life is like in Ukraine today and the important role JDC plays – caring for elderly and vulnerable families, sustaining a sense of community and helping internally displaced Jews.

Ukranian Holocaust Survivors

Interview with Inna Vdovichenko, JDC in Odesa

Where are you right now? I’m sitting next to a window in my office, I try to come in almost every day.

What is it like on the streets? Normally, Odesa is full of summer tourists. Today, the “visitors” are internally displaced people. The first few days of the war, people were in shock, no-one believed this could happen. Now people are more used to it, but it’s still unpredictable and anxiety inducing.

How are you coping? I made my first home visit on the fifth day of the crisis. I felt I had to do something, otherwise I would not feel alive. Most of the people JDC serves are still here, and today there are even more people that need help. My work is one of the reasons I haven’t left Odesa. I visit elderly Holocaust survivors who haven’t left their apartments in months, and our time together makes a meaningful difference to them.

What are your hopes for the future? I don’t know what I will do or feel “when this is over.” Everything is so intense right now. Will I be able to rest? I don’t know. Personally, I want to see my family. Professionally, I want to meet with the people who have been sustaining me all this time: colleagues, board members, supporters. It’s impossible to say how many people reached out to me; I want to hug them and say “thank you.”

What does JDC’s support mean to the Jews of Odesa at this time? When I speak to the people we help, I hear again and again, “JDC gives us life.”

JDC continues to assist thousands of Jews in Odesa and the surrounding region. Thank you for being there for Inna and supporting all in her embrace. 


Jewish Summer Program

Bringing Summer Joy to Ukrainian Children

Even as fighting, uncertainty, and despair continue to rage, JDC continues to uphold its mission, bringing relief to the vulnerable. This summer will be no exception for Ukrainian children and families. The JDC continues its tradition of providing Jewish summer programs even under the clouds of war.

Children and teens across the former Soviet Union and Europe look forward to JDC’s summer programs all year. This summer we are working extra hard to bring this taste of normalcy to the children and teens of Ukraine, whose lives have been upended by the war.

Across Europe, communities are opening their summer camps to Ukrainian refugees. In Estonia, refugee children even joined the community’s April spring camp, held a mere two months after the war began. Estonia’s summer day camp staff includes a Jewish Sunday School teacher, herself a refugee from Ukraine.   

In Poland, the community’s annual family camp will feature a tri-lingual program – in Polish, Russian, and English – to better facilitate communication between refugees and Polish-speaking campers. Poland will also host a day camp for some 60 Ukrainian children, ages 7-17. Camp will combine fun with academic classes in Polish, English and math to prepare campers for the Polish school system they will be entering in September.

In Ukraine itself, JDC plans on hosting three Family Retreats in quieter areas of the country. We are also organizing summer activities for some 400 Jewish children and teens through our Active Jewish Teens initiative. Lastly, over 100 members of the Odessa community will be traveling to Romania, which is hosting Odessa’s JCC Migdal annual Family Retreat.  

Over 800 Ukrainian Jews to take part in 20+ JDC summer activities in Ukraine and Europe

Thank you for bringing much-needed summer joy to Ukraine’s Jewish children, teens, and families.

Jewish Summer Program
The JDC-supported Spring Camp in Estonia welcomes refugees, April 2022
Ukraine's Jews

This Passover tell the story of Ukraine’s Jews

Passover is at the heart of JDC’s work — and this year, the holiday’s moving and powerful story of exodus is more relevant than ever.

As we watch the gripping scenes of Jews fleeing their homes in Ukraine and seeking safety further west and in new lands, we are reminded of the Israelites’ hasty flight from the dangers of Egypt.

Ukraine's Jews
A family at a JDC refugee camp in Vadul lui Vodà, Moldova.

This year, we invite you to bring the experiences of our Ukrainian brothers and sisters to your Seder table by downloading this special reading – a poignant way to fulfill the Haggadah’s commandment to see ourselves as having personally come out of Egypt.

Right now, we’re continuing the work that has guided JDC since 1914 — saving Jewish lives and building Jewish life — as we ensure that this Passover will be a meaningful one for Ukraine’s Jews, despite the conflict and uncertainty.

Just as we’ve done for decades, we’ll be distributing matzah in Ukraine, the former Soviet Union, and across Europe — this year, using Israeli planes to ensure the needed supplies are delivered on time.

Building on our proud history of holding public Seders two years before the Soviet Union collapsed, we’ll be hosting holiday meals for more than 2,300 refugees and Jewish community members in Ukraine, Bulgaria, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, and Romania.

And we’ll continue to look with pride and admiration at the generation of young leaders we’ve trained over the years — many of whom are actively engaged in their Jewish communities’ response to this crisis, including leading Seders and other programs to create meaningful holiday experiences at this historic moment.

Passover asks us to see ourselves in the story. This year, just as we invite in Elijah, let’s bring the voices of this Ukraine crisis to our tables by downloading this special JDC supplement, designed to be read at your Seder.

Together — this Passover and every day — we can show our global Jewish family that we see them, we will continue to support them, and they are never alone.

Hungary in Forster


The Joint Australia planned a Mission to Hungary to observe The Joint’s work in restoring the Budapest community from destruction to a vibrant Jewish world centre. Prevented by COVID from travelling, we reconvened in regional NSW and led a leadership/advocacy retreat for influential and newly engaged JA ambassadors in-training.

Over two days we were lucky to hear from:

  1. Ariel Zwang CEO
  2. Will Recant Executive Vice president
  3. Sigal Shelach CEO Israel
  4. Oksana Galkevich Director Field Operations
  5. Amir Shaviv VP of Special Operations (Rescue)
  6. Avital Sandler-Loeff Executive Director of GRID: Global Response and Innovative Development (Tikun Olam)





Get Involved with The Joint!
There are many ways to take action: Follow our Facebook page, sign up for our global update, make a gift, volunteer or travel with us, or alert your network about The Joint’s lifesaving work around the world.

The Joint Australia
P.O. Box 3229
Tamarama, NSW 2026
Phone: 1300 683 653

Judith Morton Centers For Older Adults In Israel To Expand


The Judith Morton Rehabilitation Centres for older adults in Israel is an initiative run by The Joint that provides holistic care to those who are recovering from illness or serious injury. The 7 centres are currently running at full capacity and with the support of the Israeli government, they recently took the decision to upgrade each centre with more equipment and greater technology so as to bolster the services the centres provide. The impact of Covid 19 has seen the centres providing special care for those impacted by the pandemic both in person and online.

They’re now excited to announce, working again in close collaboration with The Joint, that a new project has commenced to open a network of 19 more Judith Morton self management guidance centres for older adults in Israel. The network will be active regionally across the country and have the main purpose of equipping older adults with the skills to manage healthier, happier independent lives. Of the new centres, a number will memorialise Judth’s sisters Lilly Ujvary & Eva Berger along with Geoff and Susie Israel, her devoted friends. The main services the new centres will offer are:

*Digital Literacy

*Guidance in transitioning to a ne Life Stage

*Retirement Planning Services and Financial Literacy

*Chronic Disease Self Management Programs

*Information Systems Offering Personalized Recommendations for a           Healthy Life Style

This is an ongoing commitment to help thousands of older adults across Israel regain their strength and independence through the most uncertain and challenging of times.

It’s through the generosity of members of our community like Rod that The Joint is able to positively impact the daily lives of citizens in need all across Israel.


Get Involved with The Joint!
There are many ways to take action: Follow our Facebook page, sign up for our global update, make a gift, volunteer or travel with us, or alert your network about The Joint’s lifesaving work around the world.

The Joint Australia
P.O. Box 3229
Tamarama, NSW 2026
Phone: 1300 683 653

Eddie Jaku & The Joint on Anzac Day

Eddie Jaku Tells His Story of Survival.

On Anzac day 300 supporters of The Joint gathered at Central Synagogue to hear the inspirational 101 year old Eddie Jaku tell his story. He spoke of how The Joint granted him safe passage to Australia after the horrors of WWII and the philosophy behind being known as the happiest man alive.


Roland Gridiger OAM, Eddie Jaku OAM, Eva Fischl OAM


Hannah Fuzi, Anna Lenvay, Eva Fischl OAM, Paul Lenvay


Eddie Jaku OAM

Get Involved with The Joint!
There are many ways to take action: Follow our Facebook page, sign up for our global update, make a gift, volunteer or travel with us, or alert your network about The Joint’s lifesaving work around the world.

The Joint Australia
P.O. Box 3229
Tamarama, NSW 2026
Phone: 1300 683 653

Chanuka message from The Joint Australia

The Joint Australia COVID-19 Update – 11 December 2020

Dear Joint Supporter

Three photos of Chanuka joy should help bring happiness and celebration from The Joint Australia. We are always optimistic and happy as we better the world for the Jewish People on a global scale.

We Light The Way

As Chanukah continues, we would like to take this opportunity to share some of the impacts you had in 2020 as a result of your generous gift to The Joint Australia.

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, you may even have forgotten your kind gift to support our work, but we haven’t.

Indeed, your donation has gone directly to the heart of The Joint’s mission: changing lives for people who rely on us each day for basic necessities, rebuilding Jewish communities in remote and forgotten corners of the globe, assisting victims of natural disasters who cried out for help, building our youth and future leaders, and as the largest NGO in Israel, planning Israel’s successful future with 25-year forward plans. We do this because the future needs us now.

You can be confident that every day of the year, your gift was hard at work in seventy countries around the world, touching the hearts and minds of hundreds and thousands of people who live in places where there are no safety nets and very few opportunities.

We often say that our work couldn’t be done without people like you, but that doesn’t make it any less true. We cannot do this work without people like you.

It is an honour to be able to thank you on behalf of those who don’t have a voice, and we hope that you will hear the sincerity in our words.

Please know that we never take your support for granted and we will always be here to answer your questions, share stories from the field and be frank about our challenges and opportunities. Just ask!

The Joint Australia wishes you all the best for Chanukah. We look forward to your ongoing partnership and involvement.

Eva Fischl OAM 

Philip Bos
National Director

Brett Kaye
Victorian Director

Please show your support in helping The Joint continue to provide its lifesaving services in these unprecedented times.  All gifts over $2 are fully tax-deductible.

Donate Today

Get Involved with The Joint!
There are many ways to take action: Follow our Facebook page, sign up for our global update, make a gift, volunteer or travel with us, or alert your network about The Joint’s lifesaving work around the world.

The Joint Australia
P.O. Box 3229
Tamarama, NSW 2026
Phone: 1300 683 653