War the Harsh Reality for Ukraine’s Jews

Stand for Israel  |  February 24, 2022

Tanks move across Ukraine on February 24, 2022
(Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS/Getty Images)

After weeks of tensions across the former Soviet Union, Russia has launched a full-scale invasion of its neighbors in Ukraine. And once again, the region and the Jewish people we serve there are threatened by war. The Times of Israel’s Cnaan Liphshiz tells us how the already precarious existence of Ukraine’s Jews has become even worse:

On Wednesday, Rabbi Shlomo Baksht and his team were still looking into moving the 250 children of the three orphanages they run in Ukraine westward, away from the Russian border.

It was a last resort meant to get the children out of the southern port city of Odessa and the path of an impending Russian invasion and into Lviv, a city close to the border with Poland.

But by the time the Russian troops actually crossed the border early Thursday morning, the plan already appeared futile. Explosions were reported from Kharkiv in the East to Odessa in the south and even the Volyn area near Lviv in the western portion of the country. The scale of the invasion appeared to offer no escape.

“We’re not going to move children from one place being bombed to another place that’s being bombed,  that makes no sense at all,” Baksht, an Israel-born Chabad rabbi who has been living in Ukraine since 1994, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “We’re going to hunker down.”

Baksht’s account of the past 24 hours underlines the helplessness and confusion that many Ukrainians are feeling as their impoverished country comes under assault by one of the world’s foremost superpowers.

For members of Ukraine’s sizable Jewish minority of at least 50,000 people, this development carries special complications. Many have family and friends who have emigrated in recent years, leaving them in relative isolation. They also have unique fears rooted in the tragic 20th-century history of their communities…

Please continue to pray for safety and peace for all caught in the midst of this war, those The Fellowship continues to serve with the support of all who stand for Israel and the Jewish people.