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Our Hearts Are in Ukraine

Dear Friends,

I can’t stop thinking about Babi Yar this week, a ravine in the Ukraine where 75,000 Jews were slaughtered in WWII. Bloodshed is, sadly, well-known to the people of the Ukraine, which is currently home to over 200,000 members of the Jewish community. Some are Russian speaking, with significant ties to communities and family in Russia, and others have roots among those who survived the Holocaust and contributed to the renewal of Jewish life there, in recent decades. In Genesis 4:10, God calls out to Cain, “Your brother’s blood(s) cries out to Me from the earth.” “Never again.” As our soon-to-be Senior Rabbi Emily Segal writes, “This is not some country across the sea; these people aren't faceless; they are us.” The blood of our brothers and sisters in Ukraine cries out to us.

The blood of all the people of Ukraine cries out to us. As Jews, we are well-aware of what it means to live under tyrannical dictators, and we give thanks in our prayers each morning to God who frees the oppressed and blesses us with freedom. The people of Ukraine long for and deserves those same blessings.  Cantor Wolman will lead us in a Ukrainian niggun at our Prayer Lab service this evening - “Open Your Heart.”

At this moment, our hearts turn to the people of the Ukraine. We pray that they draw strength and comfort from the knowledge that the civilized world stands with them in their fight for democracy. May we in the United States of America be blessed with the courage to do whatever it takes to support them at this terrible moment.

Sending blessings for peace,

Rabbi Bonnie Koppell

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