As a young boy crossed the border from Ukraine into Poland, he carried a hockey stick.

Dana Vizner, Chief Planning Officer for the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, watched him walk by with wondering eyes. How did he reach the decision to bring his hockey stick? Did he and his mother argue over his choice, or did she understand what it meant for her son to bring the stick, as a connection to his real life? If you only had minutes to pack to begin a new life, what would you bring?

Dana and Jill Rose, Annual Campaign Chair, recently returned from a JFNA-sponsored mission trip to the region, where funds donated through the special Ukraine campaign are being used to redirect lives that have been torn asunder. Jill witnessed with pride the Israeli flag flying high and prominently, as the first sign of hope to refugees, as they crossed into another country.

Jewish Federations were built for this moment

According to JFNA, as of this week, more than $40 million has been raised through a collective effort of Federations in the U.S., including the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County. Prior to the emergency campaign, your dollars have gone toward building an infrastructure of care and response, which made this incredible work possible.

“My entire adult life I’ve been advocating on behalf of the Jewish Federations,” Jill said. “What this mission trip has done is truly reinforce the urgency and necessity of our core Annual Campaign. We have a very long-term problem on our hands. Re-settling the Ukrainians and Russians who are fleeing for safety will be happening for a long time to come, and that work is going to be done by the JDC, Jewish Agency for Israel, and our other partner agencies. We live unbelievable lives, and it’s more important than ever for us to step up and give.”

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The power of the collective is strong

As part of a 30-person delegation with representatives from the U.S. and Canada, Jill and Dana took with them duffel bags filled with socks, hats, diapers and toiletries.

When they landed in Warsaw, Dana witnessed the power of the collective, as their bags were added to so many others. Thousands of pounds of supplies were delivered in one trip, but it was a small part of the overall endeavor.

The Jewish Agency for Israel is operating four hotels in Warsaw, as transitional housing for Ukrainians. A rabbi with a congregation in Poland was working to mobilize college students through Hillel to volunteer. At the border, a well-coordinated effort, led by our partner agencies, processed thousands of people with dignity and safety.

“This is the power of the collective,” Dana said. “I felt such immense pride in our Jewish organizations and incredible awe at the resiliency and fortitude of these people. This is what we can do when we come together.”

The work continues – here, in Israel and anywhere we are needed. Give to our Annual Campaign at