In these dangerous times our hearts go out to all the people of the Ukraine, including our fellow Jewish communities there.
We pray that God who makes peace on high will make peace for us, all Israel and all the world. At the same time, we know from the history of Europe in the 1930s that cunning and deceit must be called by their true names and that tyranny cannot and must not be countered by propitiation.
Last Friday I spoke with Rabbi Reuven Stamov and his wife Lena. Leaders of the Masorti congregation in Kiev, they are also responsible for five major communities across the Ukraine. They explain that people are afraid, yet standing firm. They are preparing strongrooms in their homes, places of work and synagogues. Many from the east of the country are suffering from trauma after eight years of war, threats and intimidation. They ask us to think of, pray for and help them. To watch the video of our conversation click here.
World Jewish Relief yesterday launched a special appeal. Paul Anticoni writes:
World Jewish Relief has been supporting Jewish communities across Ukraine for over 20 years. Our 29 partners are rooted within local communities. Our support provides daily help to almost 10,000 Jewish elderly, to those looking for work, to families living in poverty. We saw in 2014 the displacement of over a million Ukrainians who fled the conflict. World Jewish Relief and its partners in 2014 then helped provide emergency support, accommodation and longer-term assistance for thousands…
For details and to donate click here.
Masorti Olami, which supports Masorti congregations across the world, is also appealing for our direct help. They write:
We are in close contact with our communities in Kyiv, Chernivtsi, Odessa, Kharkov and Dnipro who report that they are currently safe and at home, but are worried about the future and are in a state of uncertainty, not sure when an invasion could occur or how it would play out. They have conveyed to us their current fears and needs and we have created this campaign, calling on the assistance of our supporters around the world, to help them.
Click here for further information or here to donate to their appeal (select ‘special programme’ and specify ‘Ukraine Communities Campaign’).
Pesach is rapidly approaching, with its essential themes of justice and human dignity, and its timeless narrative of courageous opposition to tyranny. The world’s journey from slavery to freedom is long and hard; we pray that God will be with us as we strive to follow it.