This weekend marks three weeks since the horrific Hamas terror attacks of October 7th . Throughout this time, UJA has been mobilizing the full resources of our Toronto Jewish community to ensure a strong, unified response to this emergency.
The situation is constantly evolving in Israel, as well as here in the GTA when it comes to the growing challenge of antisemitism. We’ll have more to share in the coming days about our ongoing efforts to combat hatred of Jews—and what you can do to play a role.
Today, we wanted to update you on the emergency funds UJA has deployed to meet urgent needs in Israel.
We are awed that nearly 10,000 donors have generously given more than $62 million to UJA’s Emergency Appeal. Thank you to all who have donated. 100% of funds raised will go directly to needs in Israel. Those who wish to make a gift may do so at the link below.
UJA has already deployed a total of $17.96 million to meet immediate needs in Israel. In the interest of transparency and keeping you informed, here is the full list of emergency grants we have made to our partners on the ground:
- Direct aid to victims of terrorism and traumatized communities. $3 million (via The Jewish Agency for Israel) to provide rapid payments to 2,000 families victimized by terror—roughly half of the total national number of affected families currently identified by The Jewish Agency . In addition, $1.5 million (in partnership with the City of Sderot) will assist 1,000 vulnerable families who are traumatized in our devastated partner city.
- Humanitarian aid for Israelis sheltering across the country. $2.9 million (in partnership with the HESEG Alumni Association), to distribute necessities for the tens of thousands of Israelis who have been evacuated from Gaza border areas and are being housed in private homes or community facilities elsewhere. With many traumatized and having fled their homes with very little, having access to mattresses, bedding, housewares, and essential supplies will enable them to shelter with some comfort and normalcy.
- Trauma and emotional first aid. $2.75 million (via Sderot Resilience Center) to fund mental health professionals to provide emergency support to devastated residents.
- Critical services for evacuees from Sderot and other Israeli communities near Gaza. $1.5 million (via The Jewish Agency for Israel) to provide a range of urgent services for those who have taken shelter in Israel’s southernmost regions far from Gaza. This includes mental health supports, schooling for children, medical services, and community and social programs for evacuees. With 60,000+ sheltering in host communities in the far south, the daily needs are far beyond the local capacity.
- Emergency purchases of food, baby products, and medical equipment for evacuated Israelis. $250,000 (via Brothers and Sisters for Israel) and $500,000 (via Leket, Israel’s National Food Bank) to provide urgently needed food and essentials for evacuees from Gaza border communities now located in the Eilot/Eilat area.
- Protective equipment and emergency kits for first responders. $175,000 (in partnership with the City of Sderot) and $500,000 (via Magen David Adom) for trauma medical kits, as well as helmets and armour-plated vests to protect from rockets and other attacks, to be used by paramedics, social workers, and resilience staff.
- Evacuation of Israelis living with disabilities from communities near Gaza. $660,000 (via Shalva) to help with the relocation of 1,500 evacuees with special needs, providing essential supplies, medication, clothing, and physical and emotional care.
- Airlift of donated medical supplies and other essential goods. $630,000 (via UJA Federation) to airlift approximately 42 tons of basic medical supplies and essentials donated by our community through UJA Genesis’ emergency drive. These products have been requested by our trusted partners, who will distribute them on the ground. Special video: Watch UJA’s humanitarian airlift load up with supplies and take flight from Toronto.
- Essential supplies for Israelis from the Gaza border area sheltering in host communities. $500,000 (in partnership with the Eilot Regional Council) to fund water, food, clothing, medicine, baby products, generators, and other needed supplies for those evacuated from the war zone.
- Equipment to aid in the recovery, identification, and burial of victims. $500,000 (via ZAKA) for protective gear, body bags, and rescue and recovery equipment for the process of ensuring those murdered in terror attacks can receive a proper burial. Since the Hamas attacks, ZAKA volunteers have recovered hundreds of bodies under horrific conditions. Watch this interview with ZAKA’s rescue service commander about their efforts. [Warning: extremely disturbing content]
- Life-saving emergency supplies for emergency medics. $500,000 (via United Hatzalah) for vital items, such as trauma first-aid kits, tourniquets, defibrillators, and protective gear. United Hatzalah is a fully volunteer emergency medical service, with many of their 6,500 medics across Israel serving as first responders and saving lives throughout the recent attacks. Watch this interview with United Hatzalah about their efforts. [Warning: disturbing content]
- Assistance for elderly Israelis living in isolation under rocket fire. $500,000 (via the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee) to provide community workers who locate and care for vulnerable seniors living within 20 km of Gaza. This ensures those who are isolated and lacking other sources of aid receive continual check-ins, emotional support, and access to essential services.
- Medical equipment for advanced, emergency treatment. $500,000 (via Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center—Ichilov) to support treatment for wounded Israelis. As one of Israel’s most advanced hospitals, Ichilov receives patients who require complex surgeries—combined with trauma psychological care—and have been transferred from smaller hospitals in southern Israel.
- Trauma and psychological training for frontline workers. $500,000 (via the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee) to equip social workers, teachers, caregivers, and medical staff to provide trauma relief and psychological support to those who are acutely at-risk.
- Assistance to vulnerable Holocaust survivors and other seniors in areas threatened by rocket fire. $445,000 (via Amigour) for aid workers to provide direct support to this uniquely at-risk population, including through food packages, check-ins from professional staff, respite programs, and psychological counselling.
- Emergency aid for young leaders who were based in the Gaza border communities of Kibbutz Sufa and Kibbutz Nir Oz. $150,000 (via Kedma) for trauma counselling, grants for urgent needs, and other essential supports for a cohort of young adults who were serving these communities, as part of the Kedma program, and have evacuated with virtually nothing. Like many Israeli villages along the Gaza border, Sufa and Nir Oz were targeted by Hamas terrorists for widespread massacre and destruction.
Through our team in Israel, we are continuing to coordinate with our NGO partners to ensure these efforts are aligned and our dollars can make the greatest possible impact. Additional grants will be deployed in the coming weeks as we receive payments from donors to the Emergency Appeal, ensuring a strong flow of funding based on available resources.
There’s much more work to be done. We have every reason to believe this crisis will last for some time, bringing even more difficulties for the people of Israel and Jews worldwide.
But overcoming adversity—and emerging even stronger—is at the heart of what it means to be Jewish. We’ve seen this in the resilience and bravery shown by Israelis. And we’ve seen it in a Toronto Jewish community that’s stepped up as a powerful example of how to put our values into action.
We continue to pray for the strength, protection, and wellbeing of the people of Israel.
Thank you and Shavua Tov,