Jews in war-torn Ukraine have been through so much – many have been forced to leave their homes with little but the clothes on their backs. Most of those who have fled are living in temporary shelter in more stable parts of Ukraine, and The Fellowship has been key in providing this housing as well as the daily needs of these refugees.
You can imagine how much it meant to these internally displaced Ukrainian Jews to be able to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim last week. Purim is quite possibly the most festive Jewish holiday, celebrating God’s rescue of the Jewish community in Persia through the brave actions of Esther, so getting the chance to truly celebrate this day was a rare treat for this embattled community.
Purim activities – including synagogue services, concerts, and parties – took place throughout Ukraine, including in Donetsk, Lugansk, Dnepropetrovsk, Khakrov, and others. According to tradition, the children dressed up in costumes, the book of Esther was read aloud (with shouts and the sounding of noisemakers whenever Haman’s name was read), and people ate hamantaschen (cookies shaped like Haman’s hat).
Looking at the smiling faces of those in attendance at these parties, it’s easy to see how much these celebrations meant to them.