Ukraine Alternative Spring Break with the JDC banner

Ukraine Alternative Spring Break with the JDC

A team for Hillel at The University of Maryland

  • $1,759
  • 21
  • 5

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$1,759 raised of $1,000

Support University of Maryland's Alternative Spring Break to Ukraine!


name dollars donors


Lauren Murray

Ukraine ASB

$722 6


Benjy Cannon

Benjy Cannon

$529 7


Molly Bauman

Ukraine Alternative Break

$508 8


Elizaveta Solovey

Jews Helping Jews in the Ukraine!

$0 0


Dillon Hagius

Ukraine Alternative Break

$0 0

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From March 18-25, fifteen University of Maryland students will be traveling to Ukraine to the cities of Donetsk and Dnepropetrovsk with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. We are aiming to raise $1000 per person.

We will be traveling to the Ukrainian cities of Donetsk and Dnepropetrovsk, which have Jewish populations of approx. 5,000 and 60,000, respectively. We will also participate in a Shabbaton in Lesnoi, situated about an hour’s drive from Dnepropetrovsk.

Service Work – Our service work in Donetsk will center around the city’s Hesed welfare center. The Hesed Welfare Center model was developed in 1993 by JDC professionals in response to the multifaceted, unmet needs of elderly and disabled Jews in the Former Soviet Union (FSU). The centers provide vital home care services to needy and bedridden elderly, offering all types of assistance – such as the provision of food, health care, and much-needed companionship – to clients who are unable to care for themselves due to their age, health conditions, or lack of mobility. More than 40 Hesed welfare centers operate in Ukraine, which together provided assistance to nearly 64,000 clients in 2010. We will be working in the Donetsk Hesed’s medical equipment warehouse to make small renovations and fix up medical equipment that we will then deliver to Hesed clients. In Dnepropetrovsk, we will plan volunteer activities with both elderly and children at the local Hesed and JCC. We will also participate in JDC’s Warm Homes program - an initiative developed by JDC in the FSU to aid and help alleviate the loneliness plaguing so many Jewish elderly. Throughout the region, small groups of elderly Hesed clients are regularly hosted by those who have volunteered their homes, with participants benefiting from nutritious meals as well as much-needed social contact.

Understanding the Context for our Service - Alongside our volunteer work, we will spend time learning about Ukraine’s Jewish community, history, and current socio-economic climate. We’ll explore current challenges facing the Jewish community of both Ukraine and the FSU, and the role of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the world’s largest Jewish humanitarian aid organization, in responding to those needs. We’ll do this through discussions with JDC field professionals and volunteers, and visits to programs for elderly, children-in-need, and youth who are embracing their rediscovered Jewish heritage.

Jewish Learning - Each day, we will take a step back to reflect on our experience and the Jewish values that inform our service work through a series of text-based conversations and high-level shiurim about Jewish responsibility, community, peoplehood, prioritizing need, and giving, among other topics.

Shabbat - We will participate in a cross-cultural Shabbaton just outside of Dnepropetrovsk, together with local peers and dozens of Ukrainian families. These Shabbatonim are part of JDC’s ongoing projects aimed at re-connecting Jewish families in the FSU to Jewish culture and traditions.

Pure Fun – Throughout our trip we will be joined by local Hillel peers from both Donetsk and Dnepropetrovsk who will show us what life is like as a Jewish university student in Ukraine. With them we will experience the culture of Ukraine (including the food, a traditional Russian “banya”, and more!) and create great memories and meaningful friendships!

Here's more info about the JDC's work in Ukraine!

Team Captain

Dillon Hagius Dillon Hagius