How horribly apposite the words of the Psalm for Wednesday are: ‘For how long will the wicked rejoice? They tell lies. They kill widows, refugees and orphans. They say, “God isn’t looking.” (Psalm 94)
We ask ourselves what we can do to help as we feel helpless, watching the brutal invasion of the Ukraine. We must not do nothing. If you have friends with family in the Ukraine or nearby, be appropriately in touch; don’t let people feel alone. If you can, donate (see our appeals below; there are many others too). For the present, the most useful thing most of us can give is money. The organisations we support are helping neighbouring countries cope, too, as refugees arrive in hundreds of thousands in Poland, Moldova, Hungary and beyond. ‘You can see the trauma in their faces,’ a colleague in Budapest told me.
The Prime Minister has referred to as many as 200,000 refugees been allowed into the UK. There’s been mention of individual and corporate sponsorships; as soon as details become available, we will share them with the community. Please join tonight’s briefing, organised for all our communities by Rabbi Jeremy Gordon. Please join tomorrow’s session on refugees, focussed both on Jewish values and practical ways of helping. We mustn’t forget at this time that refugees from Afghanistan are still – refugees from Afghanistan. If we feel powerless to affect events across the world, there are many close to home, like local food banks, who need our help.
Jewish communities and leaders across Europe and beyond are finding ways of supporting each other, practically, with morale and in prayer. Adapting the words of Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, known as the Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto,
Mutual sharing and helping is not limited to giving charity. When one hears of the troubles of others and does all one can to help, if one’s heart s broken…then this too is a gift we receive from one another… (March 16, 1940)
Wishing all of us the strength to help wherever we can and to support one another.
Masorti Olami Ukraine Appeal
Masorti Olami, which supports Masorti congregations across the world, is 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 to donate to their appeal via Masorti Judaism in the UK. Click here for further information.
World Jewish Relief Ukraine Appeal
World Jewish Relief has launched a special appeal:
Russia has launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Our 29 partners across the country describe fear, panic and disbelief, and are doing everything they can to protect their communities in the face of active conflict.
No one knows how far-reaching the consequences of invasion will be, but we know that for the communities we have supported for 30 years the impacts will be catastrophic.
We will respond to the most urgent humanitarian needs as they arise, prioritising food, cash, medical, material, and psychological support for the worst affected, whether fleeing their homes or unable to escape violence.
For details and to donate click here.