The Jewish community of Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, has rallied together in the wake of a weekend gas explosion that leveled a large part of a residential apartment building, killing 17.

As of Thursday, none of those killed in the Oct. 13 blast were known to be Jewish.

According to a statement released by the more-than 30,000-strong community and posted on its Web site,, a committee was established soon after the disaster to assist city officials, the injured and the families of those injured. Community members contributed some 160 kits consisting of toiletries, electric kettles and hair dryers for those left homeless and now staying at hotels. Students in the community's schools have also raised money for the victims.

While flags flew at half mast throughout the country, people gathered at Dnepropetrovsk's Golden Rose synagogue to pray for those affected by the tragedy.

"Naturally, our community couldn't just stand aside and we started acting immediately," said community chairman Gersh Korol.

"The Jewish community demonstrated [a] very high level of organization and coordination," said community director Viacheslav Brez. "Very quickly, we managed to collect funds [and] purchase the goods."

The community is led by Chief Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetzky, a native Israeli who moved to the city at the direction of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, in 1990. It is also represented by the Federation of Jewish Communities in the former Soviet Union.

In the United States, an official with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Boston, a sister city of Dnepropetrovsk, said that she had been receiving almost daily reports from her counterpart in the Ukraine. She said that her organization, which has helped fund everything from elderly programs to a enterprise grants for women, has offered any help it can give.

"We've asked our friends in Dnepropetrovsk to let us know if there's anything we can do," said Jenna Toplin, the JCRC's program coordinator for international partnerships.