Our Hearts are With Ukraine

Interior of Grat Choral Synagogue, Kyiv, Ukraine

Our eyes, hearts, and prayers have been directed to the East, and to the violence and bloodshed that is once more creating heartache in Ukraine. A century ago, hatred, intolerance, and bigotry wreaked terror on the Jews of Ukraine as we learned this fall with our Amram scholar Dr. Jeffrey Veidlinger, author of In the Midst of Civilized Europe: The Pogroms of 1918-1921 and the Onset of the Holocaust.

As Jews, many of us can trace our roots back to Ukraine. My great-grandfather Sam Posner fled Kyiv in the 1890s at the age of 10, arriving in New York City where the relatives who were supposed to meet him never showed up. My great-grandmother Lena Tepper left L’viv to come to America in 1908 after marrying Nathan Grabiner. We know far too well what our ancestors went through leading up to and during WWII as they tried to flee persecution and antisemitism. And if they hadn’t, many of us might well be spending our nights and days in metro stations and other underground shelters.

The Talmud teaches “Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh bah Zeh–All Israel is responsible for one another.” We pray for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine, the Reform Jewish community, their neighbors, and leaders. And at a time such as this, we do more than pray, we reach out to provide the support that is needed to survive this crisis. We know that there are many suffering and in need of food, medicine, and other emergency assistance, particularly during the harsh winter.

Washington Hebrew is directing donations to the Ukraine Crisis Fund of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. This organization connects Progressive Jewish communities throughout the world, and funds will be used to support our Reform Jewish communities throughout Ukraine with humanitarian assistance.

http://wupj.org/give/ukraine

In addition, the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, along with its partner organizations—JDC, the Jewish Agency for Israel, and World ORTwill be providing support on the ground as well:

https://www.shalomdc.org/ukraine-emergency-fund

Our hearts continue to be with the people of Ukraine. May the Holy One of Blessing bring a swift end to this conflict, and may those who are living in fear soon know joy and lasting peace.


On Wednesday, March 24, Rabbi Shankman and Rabbi Miller led a discussion about Ukraine with Zack Beauchamp, Senior Correspondent for Vox who has written extensively on the war, and Gil Preuss, the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, who recently returned from the Ukraine/Poland border where he witnessed the Ukrainian refugee crisis firsthand. Their expert analysis covered the latest developments in the war, what the war means for the Jewish community, and how you can help.

Additional Ways to Support Ukraine



Susan N. Shankman

Rabbi

Rabbi Susan Shankman has been a Rabbi at Washington Hebrew Congregation for more than 20 years. In addition to officiating services, life cycle events and pastoral care and counseling, Rabbi Shankman coordinates the Confirmation program, works closely with the Women of WHC, focuses on programming for families with young children, outreach t...

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