Dear donors, investors, mentors, teammates, and supporters

Dear donors, investors, mentors, teammates, and supporters,

My gratitude to Operation Mordechai donors and supporters is immeasurable. Your support for this mission has allowed us to help pay for food, school books, laptops, clothing, hygiene products, medical supplies, appliances, beds, toys, and diapers. We are proud to have shipped 2,500 pounds of medical supplies and hygiene kits to the Ukrainian boarder countries. In addition, we are now in the process of transporting 172,442 organic granola bars to Ukraine. Your encouragement and emotional support has given me the unwavering commitment and strength to do whatever it takes to make a small difference in the difficult lives of these innocent refugees.

I have just returned from eight days in Israel, where I had the honor and privilege of being welcomed into peoples’ very personal lives of hardship and tragedy. Many have asked me “did you have a good trip?” I am at a loss how to answer this simple question. If “good” ‘means “productive”, then yes. It was extremely productive. We set off to unknown places with unknown contacts, and created a calendar that was packed beginning to end with meetings, visits, and more hummus than one should consume in a single week.

We had the opportunity to meet many families and see how they live. Or rather, see how they survive. Because every day, they are just fighting to figure out how to survive. Some with elderly parents, others with babies and young children. These are all families who once had a life with homes, cars, careers, schools, businesses, and dog parks just over two months ago. Two months ago…… CAN YOU IMAGINE? To have to leave behind your family, friends, school, and every day activities that we all just take for granted. These refugees had to leave it all behind at a moment’s notice and flee to an unknown country with a foreign language, with whatever possessions they could fit into a single suitcase or backpack. And some came alone. And I mean ALONE….at 14, 15, 19 years old. Their mothers shipped them off to save their daughters from the horrors and atrocities of war. Many of their friends have been raped. Many of their friends are hospitalized from being raped seven or eight times. One girl as young as six….. How do you listen to these stories face to face and try to stay strong while speaking with these young girls that have witnessed the unimaginable. Their mothers shipped them off to Israel to be safe while many mothers stayed behind to care for their elderly parents that physically couldn’t or wouldn’t leave behind the only home they know. Their fathers and brothers are left behind to fight a senseless war. Young children with their mothers cannot understand why they can’t go back to school, see their friends, or even know when they will ever see their father again. I met a boy who is turning seven next week. All he wants for his birthday is to see his dad and give him a hug. A simple hug of their father is no longer so simple for these children.

Our visit to the elementary school was beautiful in terms of seeing the warm welcome other children have given to these young refugees. The language barrier is difficult, but they all understand the language of love, kindness and compassion.

The apartments where they live are sparse. Some with no refrigerator. They only buy perishables which they can eat that day. Others with no stove, toaster oven or microwave. Every day appliances and items we take for granted while enjoying our breakfast in our comfortable homes. Beds were scarce. Families of five or six are living with two twin mattresses. Many sleep on an old donated couch. Others on the floor. Clean sheets and towels are a luxury. A washing machine is a true luxury. My perspective on life and the depth and breadth of gratitude has forever changed.

THE GIRLS…. They are WARRIORS. They are strong, resilient, courageous, ambitious, and driven. Driven to rebuild their lives, so that they can save and provide for their families back home in Ukraine. These are pre-med students, psychology majors, computer programming grads, physical therapists, a budding journalist, and even a hopeful Hollywood actress. These girls exemplify grace, courage, and perseverance in the face of death, destruction and the complete unknown. They have witnessed dead bodies scattered around the streets while they fled their country. Some lived in makeshift bomb shelters for weeks before being sent off by their parents. Their homes are gone. Their schools are gone. Their families have been ripped apart, and all they want is to go home to the people they love and the world they once knew which ended two months ago. Many do not understand there is no home to go back to.

As we move forward, there is a greater level of understanding of the long road ahead for these refugees. Their journey to resettlement is not easy and they will need our continued support.

My heartfelt thank you to each and every supporter of Operation Mordechai. The Power of 1 can truly make a difference in the lives of others and you are all the Power of 1.

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Warm wishes,

Melanie Kelfer
Operation Mordechai

Needham Woman Whose Grandfather Fled Ukraine in 1910 Helping Refugees of War

By Jackie Bruno
Published April 29, 2022
Updated on April 29, 2022 at 9:15 pm

As the world watches the war in Ukraine with horror, a Massachusetts woman has made it her mission to help and give hope, just as her grandfather was given over a century ago.

When Ukraine was invaded by Russia, Melanie Kelfer of Needham dropped everything and started Operation Mordechai, a project with the goal of helping refugees.

Her drive to provide aid was inspired by her own family’s history.

“My grandfather, who I was named after, Mordechai, was a Ukrainian refugee in 1910,” Kelfer said. “His mother died in childbirth, and his father had to take him and flee Ukraine to escape antisemitism and persecution. So if it wasn’t for the kindness and generosity of complete strangers, my grandfather would never have made it out alive, and I would not be here today.”

Today, she’s in Israel — a country where thousands of Ukrainian refugees have come after fleeing their homeland.

“This is day four of our trip to Israel, and we’ve been meeting with refugees, we’ve been going to their homes, we’ve been seeing how they live,” Kelfer said. “Many of them are living with no beds, refrigerator, no appliances, very little clothing — just what they could fit in a backpack.”

Kelfer has raised over $200,000, and 100% of the funds will benefit Ukrainian refugee, she explained.

Operation Mordechai has already shipped more than 2,500 pounds of medical supplies and hygiene products to the Ukrainian border. More food will be sent soon, and right now, Kelfer is doing her part to listen, supply aid and give much-needed hope to those staying in Israel.

Needham woman’s organization helps Ukrainian women get settled in Israel after fleeing Russian invasion

by Ken MacLeod
May 22, 2022 / 6:12 PM / CBS Boston

NEEDHAM — As a school kid reading about the Holocaust, Melanie Kelfer of Needham always wondered if she would have the strength to step forward in a desperate situation and do the right thing. When the war erupted in Ukraine, she knew that time had come.

Kelfer is the driving force behind Operation Mordechai, an organization that has hands on the ground in Israel to help resettle Ukrainian Jews who have arrived with next to nothing — some of them are pregnant women whose husbands are still fighting in their homeland.

“So we’ve been buying baby strollers and diapers, blankets, anything at all just to support these mothers who are about give birth and are alone,” Kelfer told WBZ-TV.

Operation Mordechai is named after Kelfer’s grandfather who fled Russia in 1910 amid religious persecution.

“If it were not for the kindness and generosity of others, my grandfather would never have made it to resettle in Chelsea, Massachusetts,” she said.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Operation Mordechai has raised several hundred thousand dollars and used it to shepherd Ukrainian Jews through border countries to Israel

The charity has also sent tons of medical supplies and food directly into Ukraine but its real mission though has become helping women refugees get back on their feet in Israel.

“You’re saving a lot of people and because there are people like you this world is getting brighter,” said Leah, a woman who is being helped in Israel.

Kelfer recently flew to Israel with a plane full of supplies. She made contacts and learned how to help even more effectively.

A return trip is in the works as she looks to recruit more donors to her mission.

“I believe that everyone has the power to make a difference and we’re asking for everyone to be that power of one,” Kelfer said.

Operation Mordechai is a registered 501c3 non-profit, meaning 100% of the money donated will go to refugees.

Needham woman sets up Ukrainian refugee aid in honor of grandfather

By John Monahan, Boston 25 News
April 06, 2022 at 11:02 pm EDT
NEEDHAM, Mass. — Mordechai Golditch and his father fled persecution in Ukraine in 1910. They arrived in the U.S. and were welcomed in Chelsea to start a new life.

“My grandfather is the same refugee you see today who had to flee Kiev when he was 6 years old,” said Melanie Kelfer who is founded the aid group called Operation Mordechai.

More than a hundred years later his granddaughter Melanie Kelfer from Needham is returning that favor.

“If it were not the kindness and generosity of complete strangers I would not be here today,” said Kelfer.

Tragic images from warn torn Ukraine tugged at her heart.

“War broke out and I just could not stay silent.”

So Melanie started Operation Mordechai named after her grandfather to aid refugees fleeing for their lives. “To help bring medical supplies and essentials to the help the refugees and the doctors and paramedics on the ground who are treating these wounded sick and traumatized refugees,” said Kelfer.

Melanie is working around the clock to raise money and collect donations. “To help the refugees rebuild their lives out of the rubble they’ve been left with,” she said.

And she compares the atrocities now exposed in Ukraine with the holocaust.

“All of a sudden it’s as if history is repeating itself,” she said.

Operation Mordechai’s goal is to help every refugee possible.

“This mission is not just for Jewish people. We are bringing and shipping these supplies and essentials for everyone,” said Kelfer.

Melanie has lined up a charter flight to ship supplies, then that plane will transport Jewish refugees who want to go on to Israel.

“I will be bringing these young mothers and children, the most vulnerable over for resettlement in Israel,” she said.

Her work honors her Ukrainian grandfather by helping a new generation of refugees.

“It’s unimaginable what these people are living every minute of every day,” said Kelfer.

Kelfer also plans to go over to Europe at the end of the month. And she hopes to repeat these missions to help as many people as she can. If you’d like to donate, you can do so at the following link: Operation Mordechai .

City Images Article

A Boca Raton, Florida lady has launched ‘Operation Mordechai’ to help transport refugees out of #Ukraine and into #Israel.

Mordechai is one of the main characters in the Book of Esther included in the Hebrew Bible. He is described as being the son of Jair, of the tribe of Benjamin. He was promoted to Vizier after Haman was killed.

To make your tax free donations to Operation Mordechai, who Melanie and her late grandpa were both named after, contact:

Operation Mordechai, Inc. is a 501©3 nonprofit organization (Tax ID 88-1217010). All donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by the law

“Bring young Jewish women and children over to the state of Israel for their safety and resettlement,” Melanie Kelfer said. “We want to help the people who are helping the refugees on the ground and get it there directly with our organization.”…

Melanie, who by the way is also celebrating her birthday tells #CityImages that she was delighted to meet the former mayor of Jerusalem and Knesset member, Nir Barkat. She says he was extremely supportive and they are working fast and furious to launch this worthwhile international rescue project.

She says Operation Mordechai has been launched as a time-critical mission to address the humanitarian needs of the refugees who fled Ukraine to the bordering countries. They aim to conduct as many supportable extraction missions as possible and provide supply relief on the ground thru partnering agencies. They are strictly non-profit, never charge for help, and are solely dedicated to providing much-needed medical supplies and essentials, while ushering young Jewish mothers and children to safety in Israel.

Operation Mordechai is a small dedicated group of professionals that coordinates the donation of supplies, flight and ground operations, distribution of relief supplies, and ensures proper resettlement in Israel to accepting organizations

What the group needs now are generous donors that will help fund fuel and other related costs to execute this critical mission at the most compelling moment in our lifetime. They want to put the words “Never Again” into action and that time is now.

Melanie Kelfer is dedicating this human kindness healing project in memory of her late grandfather, whose mother died during childbirth and was rescued out of Ukraine as a six-year-old. A subject near and dear to my heart and soul.

Boca Raton family starts ‘Operation Mordechai’ to help transport Ukrainian refugees to Israel

West Palm Beach 25
by Sooji Nam

As Melanie Kelfer watched the news unfold on the crisis in her home country, she knew she had to do something.

“My grandfather Mordechai, who I was named after, it’s actually my Hebrew name. He was a refugee from Kyiv. He had to leave when he was six years old, because of the antisemitism and persecution that his family faced,” Melanie Kelfer told WPBF 25 News.

She founded Operation Mordechai, a nonprofit organization, with the goal of transporting medical supplies and refugees to Israel.

“Bring young Jewish women and children over to the state of Israel for their safety and resettlement,” Kelfer said. “We want to help the people who are helping the refugees on the ground and get it there directly with our organization.”

It’s a tight-knit community coming together in Boca Raton, working with resources on the ground in Europe as well.

“Chabad is the largest Jewish organization in the world. So, we have eyes on the ground, and all of the refugees in Ukraine and also Israel. We have actually people there right now reporting back to us. ‘What are the most critical needs?'” Rabbi Ruv New of Boca Beach Chabad told WPBF 25 News. “What we’re trying to do is be very surgical here.”

Crisis in Ukraine: How Floridians can help

Kelfer said donors have offered a Boeing Business jet as well as a Sun D’or Boeing 737 available for up to 180 refugees.

“We’re gathering donations. We are looking for donors, both large donors, millennials, corporate donors that will help us purchase the supplies, purchase the medical equipment, help with the refugees on the ground, help with the first responders, and help us fly the most vulnerable women and children over to Israel for their safety,” Kelfer said.

Local Boca Raton medical professionals also are jumping in with critical medical needs.

“Create a nonprofit fund where I can purchase much more than just anti-epileptic medication but pretty much all critical medications as well as medical supplies that are needed over in Ukraine,” said Dr. Svetlana Faktorovich, a neurologist at Boca Raton Regional Hospital. “We’ve been sending army sleeping bags among other supplies that are really needed in Ukraine.”

“Anything we can do to help everyone that we can is what our mission is about,” Kelfer said.

Would you like to help? Send us an email today!

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Boca Raton, FL 33432

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