EMIH brought two tons of donations to Uzhhorod

Earlier this month, a delegation from EMIH, the Association of Hungarian Jewish Communities, left for Uzhhorod, bringing two tons of food for the Jewish community there and for those who had requested help from the Chabad community in Uzhhorod, reports zsido.com.

Many people in a small town under siege have been fed. The parcels included 800 kg of kosher chicken meat from the Csengele slaughterhouse, 100 kg of kosher bakery products and 800 liters of kosher milk from Semes, as well as 100 kg of imported butter and cheese and 50 kg of chocolates and sweets. After a few hours of driving and border checks, the consignment arrived in the destination city.

EMIH could not remain idle in the face of the refugee crisis caused by the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and the terrible psychological and physical burden it entails.

„EMIH, the Association of Hungarian Jewish Communities, is doing all it can to help the refugees in Ukraine”

– said Shlomo Köves, chief rabbi of EMIH.

„We have been providing accommodation and kosher food for refugees in Budapest, and we are in constant contact with Jewish leaders in the occupied territories as well, helping them in any way we can”

– Köves added.





For now, life in Uzhhorod is business as usual, except for a shortage of kosher food and the daily flow of refugees passing through the city. Those who flee the fighting often make the physically and mentally exhausting journey on foot, without food or water. Here, in a temporary shelter set up in the local Chabad kindergarten, they welcome refugees, as well as members of the local community, and try to help them with whatever they need. The donations delivered by EMIH will go toward this effort.

„Many people have stayed in Ukraine, either because they could no longer leave due to military obligations or because they had no plans to leave their country. We want to help them with this donation”

– explained Bálint Nógrádi, EMIH’s economic manager.

„A large number of people gathered to welcome us, and one by one they all helped unload the vans we used to transport the food. A lady gave us a tour of the nursery, showing us which rooms had been adapted to receive refugees.

An 18-year-old Ukrainian boy who was studying at the Dnieper Yeshiva was also seeking shelter here. He said that since the rabbi’s family had gone to Israel temporarily with their family long before the war broke out for personal reasons, but were unable to return, he reads the Torah and was in charge of reading the Book of Esther on Purim to the remaining members of the community”

– said Bálint Nógrádi.

However, the absence of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Wilhelm does not mean that he is not helping. He is also in constant contact with the people of Uzhhorod and is actively involved in organizing the background work, as well as helping with the infrastructure he had already set up.

All help is needed in Uzhhorod, not only for the people living there, but also for those crossing through the city and leaving Ukraine. Often buses bring up to 100–150 people, sometimes more, into the city to be fed, but families also stop at the kindergarten for a rest. A woman bakes bread non-stop in the institution’s kitchen so that everyone has enough for the rest of their journey. Fresh, clean bed linen is waiting for them in the shelters, hung up to dry in the nursery yard.

„There is no fighting in western Ukraine, yet there are many refugees who have arrived from war-torn areas of the country. On the way there, we saw crowded train stations and buses, it was very moving. At the local Chabad center — a synagogue, kindergarten and community space all in one — we saw incredible solidarity among local helpers.

The lady who pulls things together told me that on Shabbat, 50 people spent the Sabbath with them. They were very happy with the food we brought and very grateful. We plan to bring more food to Uzhhorod in the future and have already started to organize it centrally”

– we learned from Jonathan Megyeri.

„A significant problem is that we cannot provide the necessary quantities of what is needed because Hungarian kosher food is not particularly widespread. At the moment, kosher chicken, milk and bakery products are what we can donate, but for example, in the current shipment, we have also sourced kosher cheese by the kilo from Vienna.

It has been suggested that there is a need for more dairy products in Uzhhorod, and we are working on ordering a larger consignment from England and Belgium. The rabbi in Cluj has also approached EMIH with a similar request, and we are sending them a pallet of kosher meat and 300 liters of kosher milk today; and of course we will send them dairy products as soon as they arrive in Hungary”

– added Bálint Nógrádi.

There is still a shortage of semi-prepared meals in Cluj-Napoca, as they are quick and easy to prepare. This is also important because many people just take food with them and don’t stop to rest.

How can you help?

If you have a van capable of transporting frozen or non-refrigerated food and can arrange to deliver parcels to Cluj-Napoca or border areas of Ukraine, please contact us using the details below. You can also donate money to support the refugees through the CEDEK EMIH Israelite Relief Service.

Donation drop-off: CEDEK EMIH Izraelita Szeretetszolgálat / Israelite Charity Service, 1083. Budapest, Baross utca 61.

You can make a donation via the CEDEK Israelite Charity Service Barion account.

To inquire, please contact +36/30-352-00-88, [email protected]

Rabbi Köves: „War is never the solution”

MSNBC featured an in-depth report on EMIH’s program to help refugees from Ukraine.