4/5 March 2022, 1/2 Adar (II) 5782

Our eyes are glued to images, which frankly are reminiscent of those eighty years ago. The writer, scholar and lawyer Professor Philippe Sands encapsulated that this week when he shared his own father’s experience of leaving Lviv. Tuesday saw the destruction of the Babi Yar memorial or the 33,771 Ukrainian Jews murdered in the rural ravine in Kyiv 1941. It is terrifying and all the appreciation of the strength, resilience and courage of the Ukrainians both soldiers and civilians does not minimise the intensity of the Russian attacks.

This week, like you I read of the last text message of a Russian soldier to his mother. “We were told they’d welcome us..” I found this both distressing and intensely moving.

As some of you know Rabbis Julia Gris and Tanya Sakhnovich are safely out of the Ukraine, more news of them soon. Rabbi Alex Duchovny continues to lead his community from Kyiv, even Shabbat services from the shelter. Click on the image to see his message to Jewish communities across the World Union.

We have an invitation to join our twinned community in Mogilev, Belarus for their candle lighting at 3.30pm tomorrow and to be in contact with Rabbi Grisha Abramovich. He appreciates our connection deeply.

Over Shabbat as we gather we have the opportunity to hear from two members who are working closely in the field.

Paul Anticoni leads World Jewish Relief and the disaster appeal they have launched. WJR works closely with elderly folk in Ukraine needing support. If you missed Wednesday’s event hosted by Emily Maitlis you will have a chance to hear from Paul during our Friday evening service about what is happening and how WJR are attempting to help.

For an extra and special Shabbat morning conversation in person and online our member Max Rebuck will be sharing his understanding of the conflict through media monitoring and speaking to Ukrainians in Ukraine and abroad to publish their stories during the conflict. Since Jan 2019 he’s been responsible for designing and delivering media development and counter-disinformation projects on the behalf of the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office’s Russia Desk helping independent media in Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and the Baltic States. Now working for Tortoise Media contributing to their journalism on the war.

Being informed and connected is what we need right now. I hope you will join us.

Shabbat Shalom