Ukrainian Jews displaced by war find Passover especially poignant

Friday, April 15, 2022
author picture Noah Rousseau
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Ukrainian Jews Displaced by War Find Passover Particularly Pious

The Holocaust and Soviet anti-semitism are topics that often come to mind when thinking of the Jewish community in Ukraine. Yet‚ the history of this region's Jewish community is more interesting than its current state. In this article‚ we will explore the history of Ukraine's Jewish community‚ as well as the traditions and customs that are most meaningful to them during Passover. Hopefully‚ these stories will help others to better understand the situation in Ukraine‚ which is still a place of conflict and suffering.


Thousands of Jews have migrated to Israel‚ bringing with them their heritage and traditions. As the war in Ukraine continues to ravage Ukraine‚ these newly arrived Jewish refugees will be able to join the community at the Alumim Children's Home in Nes Harim on Saturday for a special Seder. The families will adopt several children for the Seder. Some will also join the community from their native Ukraine. Some displaced by war in Ukraine find the holiday especially poignant. Some are using yeshivahs to celebrate Passover in peace and safety. These institutions are equipped with commercial kitchens‚ dining halls‚ and ample dorm rooms. Koronskaya will join the community in Tzfat to celebrate the holiday with other eastern Kiev Jews. Another community‚ Kedem‚ will celebrate Passover in the olive-covered Galilee‚ where it is still possible to visit relatives. Ukraine's war-torn country is home to millions of displaced Jews. This war is affecting the lives of the most vulnerable of these people. During this period‚ millions of Soviet Jews held Passover rituals. Ukraine‚ once home to about half of all the Jewish population‚ was one of the places in the Soviet Union where the Jewish people felt safe. While the war ravaged Eastern Europe‚ many Ukrainian Jews were displaced by war and found Passover particularly poignant. The Passover story is the central part of the Seder‚ and many refugees today feel it particularly moving. A number of modern-day Jewish communities have created a Haggadah for this year that includes a prayer written by a Ukrainian refugee. The prayer connects the Israelites of ancient times with those of the present. Moreover‚ it opens a conversation about the comforts we take for granted in today's world. For a displaced Ukrainian Jewish community‚ the significance of the holiday is even more important than it was for their ancestors. The war has united Ukrainians of all faiths and ethnicities. Among these groups are the Ukrainian Jews‚ who are proud to be part of the struggle for independence‚ democracy‚ and sanity. Their faith in Ukraine is stronger than ever before. If the Ukrainian people feel proud of their heritage‚ they will find Passover especially poignant.

Soviet antisemitism

The war and displacement of Ukraine's Jews has been an ongoing source of sorrow and pride in Jewish history. The recent Russian invasion of the country is just the latest link in this chain. In the aftermath of Putin's 2014 war‚ the Jewish people of Ukraine have experienced a profound effect on their Jewish history and culture. Read on for some insights from the past. The Ukraine war has produced the largest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II‚ and the conflict's impact on Jewish communities is especially profound. Passover is especially meaningful to Ukrainian Jews who have been displaced by the war and their homes destroyed by Russian-sponsored antisemitism. Some are now assimilated into Ukrainian patriotic culture‚ while others have resisted the war by defending their homeland and their Jewish identity. Amidst the chaos‚ the Ukrainian army lost control of the region in June 1919. Peasant warlords and insurgent fighters took control of the region and labeled the Jews as agents of the Bolsheviks. A pogrom broke out in the town of Zhytomyr after Ukrainian forces crushed a Bolshevik uprising on Jan. 5‚ 1919. During the pogrom‚ soldiers broke shop windows with rifle butts and axes‚ and then looted Jewish-owned stores in the central square. A local strongman also allegedly expelled a Jewish priest‚ and thus fanned the riot. Ukraine's president‚ Volodymyr Zelensky‚ is Jewish‚ and was elected with a vast majority of votes. During his campaign‚ Zelensky made reference to his Jewish background‚ and the Ukrainian people are responding to his political and social activism. Zelensky has also declared his solidarity with Israel. The president of Ukraine has pledged to support a comprehensive memorial complex for the victims of the Holocaust. Throughout Ukraine‚ a multidimensional history of persecution and displacement has shaped the region's identity and culture. At its height‚ the country had the largest Jewish population in the world‚ including many shtetls‚ the locations of classic operas such as Fiddler on the Roof. On the eve of World War II‚ Ukraine's Jews comprised 1.5 million people.

Jewish communities in Ukraine

The ongoing war in Ukraine has brought Jews of many different faiths together‚ creating a strong sentiment among them. This has helped them to find common cause in the fight for Ukraine's independence‚ sanity and democracy. It has also strengthened their sense of national identity and pride. And since the Ukraine has been undergoing many challenges over the last decade‚ this strong sentiment has fueled celebrations of Passover in the Jewish communities in Ukraine. There are three distinct Jewish communities in Ukraine. Two of the largest are in Kharkiv‚ a city of more than 1.4 million people. The streets are littered with rubble‚ but the Choral Synagogue‚ the largest in Ukraine‚ is an oasis for the local Jewish community. The community's Chabad Center is the focal point of 20‚000 local Jews. The Holocaust has affected Ukraine's Jewish community in many ways‚ including its resilience and faith. These Jewish communities in Ukraine have been working to help the displaced residents of Russia by providing practical aid‚ including Seders for the displaced. They have even organized Seders for Ukrainians in neighboring countries. The rabbi of Odessa said that this is a simple yet profound gift. He also noted that his congregation has been offering practical aid to Ukrainians living in Europe‚ including helping to provide meals and providing Seders for the displaced. The American Jewish Committee (AJC) has been a strong supporter of the Ukrainian independence movement‚ and has partnered with the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine to help the Ukrainian people and restore their country. In addition to providing food and medicine‚ the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is also collecting tools and money for humanitarian efforts. Membership in Beth El is growing‚ and the organization is not ignoring the need for assistance. While the American Jewish Committee (AJC) is offering grants to assist refugees‚ Jewish organizations in Ukraine are also responding to the urgent needs of these refugees. The AJC launched the #StandWithUkraine fund just days after the Russian invasion and has raised more than $1.4 million since then. This aid is a welcome sight for the Jewish community of Ukraine and will help to rebuild the country. Its work is essential.

Jewish traditions during Passover

The Charleston Jewish Federation is donating Seder meals for displaced Ukrainian Jews to celebrate the holiday. The tradition calls for late discussion of the story of the Jewish exodus from Egypt. Hundreds of displaced Ukrainian Jews are expected at a hotel in Kyiv this year for a Passover Seder. Many are also adding their own prayers to the meal. Despite the current unrest in Ukraine‚ many Ukrainian Jews still hope to celebrate the holiday this year. American Jews have a complicated relationship with Ukraine. While many Americans were once hesitant to visit Ukraine‚ many have expressed support for those displaced by war. The Refugee Child prayer is a stark contrast to the four preceding prayers‚ which teach children the story of Passover. In contrast to these prayers‚ the refugee prayer calls for people to listen to refugees and do what they can to help them return to their homes. The war is still a global pandemic‚ affecting Eastern Europe. In Lvov‚ rabbi Julia Gris is trying to provide services for those displaced by war. She and her family fled two weeks ago with their son‚ and are adjusting to life without their beloved spouses. But she and the 2‚000 other displaced Jews are not giving up hope. The Chabad House in Warsaw has become a haven for displaced Ukrainian Jews. The Chabad House director has rented out several hotel complexes in the city‚ providing accommodation‚ food‚ and translation. The Chabad House also hosts a massive Passover seder for 250 people‚ and is working on a book project to help displaced Ukrainian Jews learn about Jewish traditions during the holiday. Despite the challenges of restoring Jewish communities‚ Chabad‚ JDC and other displaced Jewish organizations have been helping displaced Ukrainian Jews celebrate Passover this year. The organizations have begun to organize group seders across Eastern Europe. In addition to organizing Seders in Ukraine‚ the organizations are helping displaced Ukrainian Jews celebrate the holiday in the capital city of Kyiv. They are also distributing matzah and preparing for a communal meal for those displaced by the conflict.