While terror plagues the Jewish people in Israel, violence and chaos still face the Jewish communities left in Ukraine. The Fellowship and our partners on the ground in the war-torn country continue to help Ukraine’s Jews. JNS’s Eitan Arom reports on the holiday spirit and humanitarian aid that is saving lives and warming hearts:
When Ira Sborovskaya sees a huge Hanukkah menorah near the Potemkin Stairs, the iconic entrance to Odessa, once a major Jewish hub, she feels something akin to pride.
Sborovskaya’s daughter is having a very different Jewish childhood from her mother. The seven-year-old is leading a Hanukkah dance performance at the Odessa Beit Grand Jewish Community Centre.
“It was forbidden here to be religious…when we celebrate Hanukkah so openly, it means we’ve really returned to our tradition,” said Sborovskaya. “And when we see young people, who do it very naturally, it means there is really another [Jewish] generation today in Ukraine.”
Children are a particular focus of efforts to stoke a Jewish revival in Ukraine. In Odessa at the Tikva Children’s Home a party was held on the first night of Hanukkah.
“The miracle of Hanukkah speaks of a small group of people who managed to deal with adversaries from all sides and still win,” Tikva CEO Refael Kruskal wrote. “This year, as we celebrate Hanukkah in Odessa in a country at war and financially unstable, the message of the twinkling candles is that, as in the past, we will overcome these hurdles and difficulties…”