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Showing Solidarity with the People of Ukraine During the Pesach Seder

Watch Rabbi Igor Zinkov discuss what one might consider adding to the seder table this year in support of Ukraine. Rabbi Zinkov is the Co-chair of the  WUPJ/ EUPJ Ukraine Emergency Fund and Rabbi at The Liberal Jewish Synagogue in London.

The World Union is urging its 1.8 million members around the globe to add a beetroot to their Seder plate this Passover to show solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

Ukraine’s most famous national food is borscht, for which the main ingredient is beetroot — making this a symbolic way to express support during the festival.

Liberal Jewish Synagogue’s Rabbi Igor Zinkov, Co-Chair of the WUPJ / EUPJ Ukraine Emergency Support, who has family in both Ukraine and Russia, said: “The story of Pesach is the story of freedom — and we will all be praying for those in Ukraine to be free this Passover.

“Many of us feel helpless in the face of what is happening, but millions of homes placing a beetroot on their Seder plates is a powerful symbol of solidarity.”

The Hebrew for beetroot is selek (סלק), which resembles the word for retreat, yistalku (יסתלקו).

It is suggested that people eat the beetroot at the point in the Seder after the bitter herbs are consumed and before the main meal, saying the following prayer: “May it be Your will, Eternal God, that all the enemies who might beat us will retreat (yistalku), and we will beat a path to freedom.”

The World Union — the global umbrella organization for more than 1,200 Progressive congregations in over 50 countries – is working actively in Ukraine, alongside its partners in the European Union for Progressive Judaism, to help people get to safety and provide shelter and help for them in neighbouring countries.

WUPJ Ukraine Crisis Fund has raised almost $2 million for this purpose. For those wishing to donate, please visit

This article originally appeared in the World Union for Progressive Judaism on April 7, 2022.

Wed, June 12 2024 6 Sivan 5784