CEO Michael Balaban of The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia is one of those flying to assist Jewish refugees.
Two members of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia are headed to Ukraine this weekend.
The organization’s CEO, Michael Balaban, is one of those flying to assist Jewish refugees and to document first-person accounts from refugees.
“Our ability to hear the stories from everyday individuals and what they’re going through, send back the pictures, send back the voices and help to be the voice for those who can’t tell their story,” said Balaban, who plans to document the stories to the organization’s social media accounts.
They are also bringing donations they gathered for the masses in response to individual requests like blood thinner medication for a refuge who just underwent heart surgery before fleeing the war-torn country.
“A large portion of the work we do at the Jewish federation is one Jew asking a second Jew to help a third,” said Balaban.
Balaban says at the beginning of the Russian invasion– 200,000 Jewish people were living in Ukraine. Of those, 50,000 are considered vulnerable, and 10,000 are holocaust survivors.
“In 1942, the Warsaw Train Station was the depot. It was at the center where Jews were sent for deportation to Aushwitz to the concentration camps to their death. A large portion of my family was wiped out,” added Balaban. “The level of emotional trauma is unimaginable. These are incredibly resilient people. they have survived the unimaginable, and to be put through this again in their lifetime I can’t even put into words, but it’s all the more reason it’s important we are there.”