Top Reform rabbi urges action for ‘forgotten’ Jewish refugees from eastern Ukraine

Top Reform rabbi urges action for ‘forgotten’ Jewish refugees from eastern Ukraine

Laura Janner-Klausner urges the community to "redouble our efforts" for Ukrainians fleeing conflict in their own country

An elderly Jewish woman
An elderly Jewish woman

Senior Reform Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner has called for urgent action on the “forgotten” refugee crisis affecting thousands of Jews in eastern Ukraine.

Janner-Klausner made the comments following a trip to the country, where she met Jewish families who had fled hundreds of miles because their home town was being bombed in a war between the Ukrainian government and Russia-backed rebels.

“Our community has led the way in responding to the refugee crisis in Europe,” she said. “Now is the time to redouble our efforts for those fleeing conflict within Ukraine, including Jews. This is our forgotten refugee crisis.”

Janner-Klausner heard eye-witness testimony from Jewish refugees – known as internally displaced persons (IDPs) under international law – on a trip organised by World Jewish Relief (WJR), which has long supported Jewish families in the country.

Laura Janner-Klausner

Some said they had to leave with only the clothes they were wearing, and a few hastily-grabbed possessions. Most have “lost everything” including their valuables and houses, with family and friends killed for political reasons.

“We thought the idea of a Jewish refugee crisis was a thing of the past,” said WJR chair Dan Rosenfield. “Meeting Jews who have lost everything, in some cases even family members, should serve as a wake-up call for our community.”

The event took place at 

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