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Ryan Kaplan: On the Ground with Refugees in Poland

By March 1, 2022July 20th, 2022Global News

Ryan Kaplan is a former Federation professional who led Birthright Israel and other initiatives before taking a position at the JCC in Krakow, Poland. Right now, Ryan is in Krakow dealing with the huge wave of refugees fleeing from Ukraine. He reports:

“The support we’ve seen over the past few days has been so inspiring and will greatly, greatly, greatly assist us in supporting our Ukrainian neighbors who are new to Krakow and the surrounding region.”

“JCC Krakow is working around the clock alongside our local and international partners to provide accommodations, distribute in-kind support such as food, clothing, and sanitary products, and connect refugees with psychological counseling and legal aid if necessary. We’ve also launched a Ukrainian language hotline, allowing refugees to contact us directly for assistance of any kind. If we are unable to provide it ourselves, we are in touch with organizations that can.”

“The demand for this kind of aid is expected to grow as more refugees enter Poland. So far, Poland has let in approximately 280,000 people, but between 1 and 5 million are expected to cross the border in the coming weeks and months. 1.5 million Ukrainians were already living in Poland before the conflict started, and it’s probably safe to say that many of those arriving now will stay no matter what the outcome is.”

Marcia Miller a member of our Atlanta Jewish Community visited the JCC in Krakow a few years ago while in Poland.  She was  amazed by the passion and dedication of the professionals and volunteers.  Yesterday, we reached out to Marcia for comments. “We are devastated by the events in the Ukraine, and so grateful the JCC in Krakow is able to help Ukrainian refugees.  This Jewish Community Center is a beacon of light, so close to Auschwitz, one of the darkest places on earth. It is a hopeful place serving survivors to preschoolers enrolled in the first Jewish preschool in Poland since the Holocaust.”


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