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Helping 200,000 Ukrainian Jews

Rabbi Sidney Helbraun

March 11, 2022

Dear Friends, 

It’s been just over two weeks since Russia invaded Ukraine and for the first time since WWII, Europe is a battlefield. While Russia’s army has been unable to subdue Ukraine’s resistance, it has brought death and destruction across their land, turning more than two million people into refugees. The scenes of war are heart-wrenching, as is the realization that there’s nothing we can do to make a difference.

This was my state of mind when I signed into a Zoom call about the ongoing work being enabled by our Jewish community. And as I listened to yesterday’s call, my perspective flipped. Rather than feeling hopeless, I was informed; rather than helpless, I was empowered. Informed about the work that is helping 200,000 Ukrainian Jews wherever they are. Providing access buses to transport them out of the war zone; help them find shelter; enable them to reach family abroad, or travel to Israel. At the same time, our Jewish agencies are quietly providing services to Jewish communities in Russia and Belarus who are also at risk because of this war.

As of today, Chicago’s JUF has sent over two million dollars to our overseas partners who provide direct aid, turning tales of desperation into stories of hope. I am proud that Temple Beth-El is a partner with JUF in this critical work, and I ask you to visit to learn more about what is being done, and to make a contribution to provide additional support.

This week’s Torah portion, Vayikra, focuses on the theme of sacrifice, and its ability to draw God nearer to our people. May our gifts of the heart provide support to those who have already sacrificed so much, and bring God’s healing power closer to all of us.


Rabbi Sidney M. Helbraun

Thu, May 30 2024 22 Iyar 5784