In his letter, the rabbi wrote: “at a time of instability and uncertainty, we need friends and mutual support more than anything. Regrettably, we have recently seen the fateful prophecy of the Bible come true: ‘In the morning you shall say “I wish it were evening!” and at evening you shall say “I wish it were morning!”’There is a terrible and bloody war being waged in Europe. People in the millions are compelled to leave their homes in the hope of finding a safer future. Therefore, we believe it is very important that from the very first moments of the crisis Hungary set an example in helping Ukrainians in need, including members of the Jewish community.”
He highlighted that the Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine (FJCU) operates as a charitable organisation that covers the entire country. They operate 162 communities, 36 synagogues, 33 nursery schools, 4 yeshivas and 5 secondary schools, serving some 500,000 Jews in total.
“The outbreak of the war put an abrupt end to this extraordinary and thriving welfare and the developments coordinated by us,” Rabbi Mayer Tzvi Stambler wrote, pointing out that in these chaotic times Hungary’s humanitarian activity is especially valuable for them.
He recalled that the Hungarian government had provided a large area for Jews fleeing from Ukraine in which they were allowed to create a temporary kosher refugee camp. Shelter is being provided for almost 500 people in the 18-hectare holiday village Balatonőszöd where refugees have access to kosher meals, their special religious requirements are taken into consideration, the education of children is being taken care of, and special assistance is being provided for women and the elderly who were compelled to leave their male relatives behind. They are also providing assistance for the refugees with integration into Israeli or local Jewish communities.