Amid the flow of horrific images and headlines focused on the latest military developments in Ukraine, it can be easy to overlook the stories of hope, stories that exemplify the human impulse to help and the ways Federation and our partners enable people to alleviate others' pain and suffering. Our work has produced sparks of light that we hope will inspire continued support. A few recent examples include:
- We helped organize a summer camp for Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw, and recruited 10 Russian-speaking educators and rabbinic leaders to volunteer at the camp through Jewish Federations' volunteer hub.
- We supported seders for the refugees who had fled the war and had nowhere to go on Passover.
- We are supporting Holocaust survivors such as Ukrainian-born Gdalina Novitsky, who is dealing with re-traumatization from the war.
- Listen as Nastya, a 15-year-old refugee from Kharkiv, talks about making Aliya after the pain of having to flee her home. "We just took our belongings and went into nowhere. All the people from Ukraine have gone to nowhere as well."
- Or Eddie Alistrahove discussing the wonder of seeing a Magen David at a rescue tent when he crossed the border from Ukraine into Poland.
- Or Yelena Golstman, who found deep meaning in her return to the region as a volunteer years after she escaped to the US as a child.
Jewish Federations and our partners are providing resources for our local communities across North America and in Israel to help resettle refugees and we are advocating for policies that make resettlement easier. Read more about the lifesaving work of Federation's core historic partners.
These stories reflect the values that inspire us to do the work we do, and strengthen our collective sense of kavanah – intention – during this prolonged crisis.
This post is adapted from an article by Jeff Schoenfeld, Chair of the Jewish Federations of North America Israel & Overseas Committee.