Written by Rabbi Benjamin H. Spratt
Responding to the Crisis in Ukraine
As we look with horror and fear at the invasion of Ukraine, we bring awareness to this escalating conflict on the most personal level. Within our congregation, many hold family stories that trace through Ukraine, the Pale of Settlement region, and Western Russia. We have members of Ukrainian, Belarusian, Yugoslavian, and Russian identity, and some of our members have friends and family in a region that may rapidly become the center of all-out war. As a Jewish community of belonging, these first moments of invasion connect to powerful tropes in many homes and hearts. For anyone in our congregation struggling and in need of support, please know your clergy are here to give care and space and be with you.
From half a world away, it may be difficult to see an appropriate response, and so we may fall into fear and anxiety. In the words of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, Ukraine: “a person should not fall into despair on account of the many destructions and harms…instead, if you believe it is possible to destroy, then also believe it is possible to repair.”
We reached out to our neighbors at the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Volodymyr on 82nd Street, and to Rabbi Jonathan Markovitch, the Chief Rabbi of Kiev, to extend our support and solidarity at this time of terror.
We pray for a speedy end to this invasion and violence, and we pray for the safety of civilians and the restoration of security. May we witness a world rising to stand together.
ReformJudaism.org: Responding to the Crisis in Ukraine
Ways to Give
• Odessa Peace Fund: Established by CRS members Vlad Portnoy z”l and Irina Sheynfeld, both from Ukraine, the Odessa Peace Fund sends much-needed resources to Ukraine. Through the Goodnation Foundation, 100% of donations provide care to seniors, orphans, disabled people, and their pets.
• World Union for Progressive Judaism Ukraine Crisis Fund.
• UJA Federation New York Ukraine Crisis Response Fund
• United Hatzalah Ukraine Relief Fund
• Project Kesher Donate to support Ukranian Women
• Ruth’s Refuge provides furniture and home essentials to Ukrainian refugees rebuilding their lives in NYC.
• Ukrainian Orthodox Church at 160 West 82nd St., NY, NY 10024.
• Read the World Union for Progressive Judaism’s denouncing of Russia’s invasion here.
• American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) Resources & Action Steps
Families with Young Children
• How to Talk with Your Children About Conflict and War (Unicef)
• How to Support the Kids We Love When the News Gets Really Scary (Tinkergarten)
• How to Talk To Your Kids and Teens About Ukraine and Russia (New York Times)