Seven elite Ukrainian athletes who fled from their war-torn country with two coaches are continuing to train for competitions in Europe and South America while at their place of refuge: Neurim Youth Village in Israel, run by Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America.

The athletes, who were matched with Neurim through a collaboration between the Israeli Athletic Union and the local municipal authority, will remain at the village until the end of May, when they will fly to Greece for further training.

Veronika, a high jumper, and Tanya, a triple jumper, said the training conditions “are superb at Hadassah Neurim — good facilities, proper and abundant food and [good] weather.”

In all, more than 50 Ukrainians are sheltering at Hadassah’s two youth villages for at-risk Israelis – Neurim, near Netanya; and Meir Shfeyah, near Haifa – through the efforts of Israel’s Ministry of Education and Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI).

The ministry and JAFI also sponsor the Naale free high school program for overseas Jewish youth. Many of the Ukrainians now at the Hadassah facilities were in the application process for Naale when the war began, and all were immediately admitted.

Naomi Adler, CEO of Hadassah, said the new arrivals “are fast becoming part of life at the villages, helped by Ukrainian students living at the villages before the war started. Some have joined the orchestra at one of the villages and others are taking part in a talent show. All are receiving counseling to help them deal with the trauma caused by the war and having had to flee Ukraine.”

An additional 100 Ukrainian children from an orphanage are sheltering at the KKL-JNF field school in Ness Harim.

Ukrainian orphans and their caregivers arriving at Ness Harim field school in Israel, March 2022. Photo courtesy of KKL-JNF

In addition to offering a home to young Ukrainians escaping the war, Hadassah sent seven teams of doctors from its Jerusalem medical center to run the clinic at the Przemyśl Humanitarian Aid Center near the Ukrainian border.

Hadassah is also partnering with Doctors Without Borders to triage patients at the border crossing and, with the Polish Red Cross, to run the pediatric ward at the refugee center in nearby Korczowa.