Community members gathered at the JCC in Cherry Hill on April 4 to send off Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey President Harry A Platt and CEO Jennifer Dubrow Weiss as they prepared to hand deliver 20 duffle bags full of medical supplies and children’s toys to Ukrainian refugees fleeing into Poland.
The two will represent the Jewish Federation by participating in the national initiative sponsored by Jewish Federations of North America, which allowed the two to fly into Poland on April 5 to deliver the donations.
Platt recalled how people moved fast to organize collections.
“Literally within like a day, we had commitments from the Camden County Library System to put collection bins in all township libraries,” he said.
From March 25 to April 1, the South Jersey community donated a range of medical supplies, from cold and flu remedies to aspirin and allergy medication. Platt noted that the Ravitz Family ShopRite in Cherry Hill donated $5,000 worth of items, and Dubrow Weiss estimated that medical supplies were worth $65,000.
“Our work at the border is to help the refugees into Poland, welcome them, get them situated and get them settled on their journey,” she explained. “ … (I’m) looking forward to bringing South Jersey to the refugees and bringing mothers and children to the next steps.”
Platt and Dubrow Weiss were joined by family, friends and the community at their sendoff. Rabbis Nathan Weiner of Congregation Beth Tikvah said the Jewish traveler’s prayer, “T’Filat Haderech,” and Ephraim Epstein, the local Jewish Federation’s community scholar in residence sang Psalm 133, “Hinei Ma Tov.”
“Although we are only sending two, Harry and Jen, they are going and representing all of us to go and help all of our brothers and sisters in harm’s way,” Epstein noted.
The Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey continues to help refugees fleeing from war-torn Ukraine and has raised more than $173,000. To support its mission, donate at https://jewishsouthjersey.org/crisisinukraine.