Friday, April 3, 2015

Passover in Ukraine

Despite ongoing conflict and a humanitarian crisis, thousands of Jews on both sides of Ukraine’s ceasefire line will celebrate Passover as a unified and resilient Jewish community, thanks to Federation’s partners at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC).

This year, JDC will be hosting Seder feasts, matzah baking classes, and Passover cooking workshops for thousands of Jews at their 32 social welfare centers located all throughout the region. The JDC will also be delivering approximately 48,000 packages of matzah to Jewish families in need.

“As we engage in our annual Passover activities around Ukraine this year, we are reminded of the holiday’s timeless message of deliverance and our duty to ensure a small taste of hope and joy to those facing despair and an uncertain future,” said Michal Frank, Director of JDC’s Former Soviet Union operation.

In Donetsk and Lugansk – cities severely damaged during fighting and now under separatist control – JDC will host matzah-baking classes for children, Seders for the elderly, and workshops on Passover customs and foods. In Mariupol – a town stricken by rockets located just outside the rebel-held area – children will make matzah together and a special women’s Seder will be held. Similar events are set to occur in Zaporozhie, Artyomovsk, Kramatorsk, and Krovoy Rog.

Farther away from the frontlines, thousands of Jews, including hundreds who have been displaced by the conflict in the separatist-controlled east, will also participate in Passover activities. Seders for the elderly will take place in Kiev, Kharkov, and Odessa at “Warm Homes” – apartments and other facilities where seniors gather to socialize, engage in cultural activities, and celebrate holidays. Kiev’s Beiteinu Center will host a Passover picnic for at risk families and for displaced Jews.

A special “Pesach University” in Dnepropetrovsk is being established to teach young people how to conduct a traditional Seder. At Odessa’s Beit Grand JCC, Passover cooking classes will be held as a part of the community’s Seder activities. In other cities, such as Nikolayev, Kherson, and Kirovograd, visits from young volunteers to isolated, elderly adults and displaced individuals are being arranged as part of the community-wide festivities.

Thanks to your support, thousands of Ukrainian Jews will receive respite from the harsh realities they continue to face every day. Your generosity is ensuring that Ukrainian Jews in need will be able to enjoy Passover celebrations within their communities.

Click here to read JDC’s full article that describes such Passover outreach efforts in great detail. 

You can still help. Federation is collecting donations for Jews in Ukraine. 


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