Maidenhead Rabbi Jonathan Romain plans ‘Ukrainetransport’ for refugees

Families urged to host Jewish refugees fleeing the war


Refugees from Ukraine are welcomed as they arrive by bus in Saint-Pierre-de-Chandieu, eastern France, on March 3, 2022, eight days after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. - The EU is expected to rapidly approve a protection mechanism for war refugees fleeing Ukraine -- so far numbered at one million -- and to also set up a humanitarian hub in Romania, officials said on March 3, 2022. (Photo by JEFF PACHOUD / AFP) (Photo by JEFF PACHOUD/AFP via Getty Images)

Rabbi Jonathan Romain has launched a scheme inspired by the Kindertransport to take in refugees from Ukraine.

The Maidenhead rabbi and other leaders from Reform and Liberal synagogues have called on Jewish families to host Jews fleeing the war.

Campaign co-ordinator Rabbi Romain’s mother escaped Nazi Germany on the Kindertransport. He is offering to host a refugee from Ukraine.

He told the JC: “We’ve had an amazing response both from rabbis themselves who are offering to host families, including one who is retired and said, ‘I live in a small flat but I’ve got a spare room and can help.’

“That’s what my wife and I will be doing as well. We’ve got a house where children have gone off, left, and we’ve got spare capacity.”

Names of potential hosts are being collected now so the scheme – dubbed “Ukrainetransport” – can start as soon as visas are granted. He said organisers were hoping to work in tandem with Jewish groups and the government.

Rabbi Romain said: “It doesn’t matter what denomination they are. It’s about Jews helping Jews. It comes down to when one Jew is in trouble, somewhere else in the world, another Jew helps.”

The plan is to also take in non-Jewish Ukrainians. Rabbi Romain said: “Some people will be prepared to offer help whatever faith they’re from, just the fact that the Ukrainians are in need.”

He added: “For some people it’s solidarity with Ukraine but for other people it’s to do with roots and their Jewish path because their great-great grandparents came from Ukraine.

“In my case it’s do with my mother who was a refugee from Nazi Germany, and this is my turn to play a similar role for the next crisis.”

The UN fears there may be up to 4 million refugees from Ukraine after the first week saw an estimated one million in the first week of the conflict.

To get involved, contact Rabbi Romain on

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