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Crisis in Ukraine

 

During these trying times, our friends in Ukraine continue to be in need of our support. Many have had to flee their homes with nothing more than what they can carry. Others are still in Kyiv, Poltava and Odessa to fight for their freedom and democracy. Innocent people are suffering. At this point, Beth Am is evaluating the needs of our Ukrainian friends and is providing funds for special projects, such as:

  1. Protective equipment for members of the Jewish community of Odessa, where fighting is closing in.
  2. Food and supplies for members of Beth Am in Poltava, where many are hiding in their cellars for safety.
  3. A computer for Rabbi Alex Duchovny (a Reform Rabbi serving Kyiv), who is now in Israel and relies on a computer to communicate with his congregants wherever they have relocated.
  4. Staffing and funding a safe and cozy rooms for young children to play in Warsaw, Poland
  5. Collecting Torahs from the Poltava and Odessa communities and bringing them out of Ukraine for a safe and secure place in Poland while the war rages in Ukraine. Our leaders in those communities storing them in their homes.
  6. Purchasing a computer of Elena Ismailowa so that Shir Ha-Yam can communicate more electively.
  7. Purchase a heat generator for Eugenia Nashenko’s home which acts as a community center for the people of Poltava.
  8. Two thousand a month for food, medical supplies and salary supplement for Poltava.

Rabbi Julia Gris, the rabbi of Shirat Ha-Yam, is safely in Oldenburg Germany where her colleague Rabbi Alina Treiger has a congregation. (Rabbi Alina Treiger was the original  spiritual leader of Poltava.) Rabbi Julia has brought with her about 40 people from Odessa. But many others have stayed to fight. Recently, Rabbi Julia was able to call a Beit Din in Oldenburg, Germany for fourteen people who were studying for their conversion and now have completed that process.

Rabbi Julia is holding online services for her people who are still in Ukraine and also leading the Oldenburg community as Rabbi Alina has health issues. Prayers for healing are sent their way!

Our world has changed, and we don’t know what the future holds. But we understand  that our friends from Ukraine will continue to need our support and love and many, many prayers.

You Make a Difference

Contribute to these funds:

Participate / Watch / Listen / Pray / Share:

  • Watch members of the Poltava Jewish community celebrate Chanukah
  • Watch Direct from Ukraine: Live Conversation with Poltava and Odessa Jewish Leaders
    Elena Izmailowa, chairperson of Shir Ha-Yam of Odessa, and Eugenia Noshenko, spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Am in Poltava, speak about living in Ukraine. A short video presentation also illustrates the vibrancy of Jewish progressive life in Ukraine before and during this war.
  • Visit the Beth Am Women-Odessa Photo Exhibit, brought to Beth Am by Lena Izmailova, the chair of Shirat Ha-Yam, our sister congregation in Odessa, Ukraine. In spite of the war in Ukraine, Beth Am Women decided to move forward with the project as a tribute to the bravery of our partners in Odessa. We hope that you find meaning and beauty in this exhibit of photographs.
  • Watch/listen to this video of a Ukrainian refugee singing with Lithuanian supporters. The song is Oi u luzi chervona kalyna (Oh, in the meadow a red guelder rose...) --  the anthem of a famous Ukrainian legion in an eastern European genre. The imagery is delicate, but the sub-text is an iron will unto death (which you can detect in the expression of the young woman who leads the song). The women who have joined in the singing are mainly Lithuanians, but they stand in for the millions of women and children who've had to flee Ukraine.
  • Watch our Congregation Beth Am Stands With Ukraine video.Thank you, Beth Am Community, for offering our sister congregations in Ukraine not only your prayers and financial support, but also these images expressing our community's sentiments of solidarity and hope for the future. WATCH
  • I ♥ UKRAINE: Our neighbor, Rabbi Sheldon Lewis of Kol Emeth, has helped create An Interfaith Grassroots Campaign of Protest & Support for Ukraine. I ♥Ukraine is an initiative for children and good people everywhere to stand up and to speak out against the unspeakable inhumanity in Ukraine. Please read updates and opportunities to take action.
  • Watch a recording of Julia Gris, Rabbi of Progressive Jewish Congregation of Odessa, in which she shares her amazing story (jump to the 20:00 min point in the recording)
  • Listen to the podcast "Ukraine's Jews in the Middle of a War" from the Shalom Hartman Institute is very powerful and informative. LISTEN
  • Pray with Religious Action Center Director Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner who joined an interfaith prayer service led by members of Congress. "We pray for and embrace in our hearts all God's children who are dying and suffering... Let not the world stand idly by while our Ukrainian family bleeds." WATCH the prayer service
  • Interest-Free Ukraine Assistance Loans: Share the news that Hebrew Free Loan is offering interest-free Ukraine Assistance loans to members of our Northern California Jewish community who need funds to support their loved ones who are in Ukraine or fleeing to safety. Interest-free loans of up to $20,000 are now available. LEARN MORE

Your support has made a difference:

IN THE NEWS
May 23, 2023
We've been recognized in the J. The Jewish News of Northern California for our support of our sister congregations in Ukraine!
Congregation Beth Am is sending vital aid to Ukrainian Jewish communities, by Sue Fishkoff 
"In the dark winter months following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, residents of the port city of Odesa had electricity for just two hours a day, from midnight to 2 a.m....The life-changing power packs and generator were paid for by Los Altos Hills’ Congregation Beth Am, which has supported the two Ukrainian Jewish communities for years. It has stepped up its aid dramatically since the Russian invasion in February 2022." Read the full article


A member of Congregation Shirat Ha-Yam in Odesa, Ukraine, with a power generator donated by Beth Am.

PROVIDING ELECTRICITY 
(April 2023)
Dear Beth Am,
I want to express my deepest gratitude to the kind people of the Beth Am community... for the charging stations that you gave to our congregation members. Thanks to your support, we managed to purchase 11 charging stations for the amount of 184,989 UAH. Your kind and generous act has greatly benefited our community [as] we now have a powerful battery for our online services and meetings, allowing us to meet whether there is electricity or not. Thanks to your support, our people are able to light their homes and be in touch. We are sincerely grateful for your support. Please know that your generosity throughout this year has not gone unnoticed and your efforts have touched the lives of many in our community. Our congregants convey many words of gratitude to you. We appreciate your kindness and are grateful for your continued support. —Elena Ismailowa

PROVIDING ELECTRICITY
February 2023
Our sister community in Odessa, Ukraine now has electricity and heat thanks to Beth Am's community support.

A message of gratitude from our contact there: “Many thanks to the Beth Am community for your help with batteries for our community members. We purchased 6 [batteries] in order to check how useful this type of battery will be and how they work. And the results exceeded all our expectations. People are very pleased with how this device [performs] in a situation where there is no electricity for a long time. Such a battery charges very quickly in 2 hours and holds a charge for a long time. This is a charging station to which you can connect light, charge all gadgets, and can also power a gas-heater for home heating. A lamp on this battery can work continuously for three days. People are very happy and grateful for this support. Thank you a lot for… your huge help and support."

FEEDING OUR FRIENDS
August 2022
Your generous donations are feeding our friends at Shirat Ha-Yam in Odessa, Ukraine. They are very grateful!

MESSAGES OF SUPPORT
See messages below from Jewish leaders in Ukraine in response to the messages of support our congregation shared with Ukrainians in March, via this video:

  • Today I wept for the first time since the beginning of this terrible misfortune. I cried when I watched your movie... Thank you for your feelings, support and for these tears that could finally flow from my soul, frozen with grief. Glory to Ukraine!
    Слава Україні! —Aleksandr and Aleksandra Haydar (March 24, 2022)

  • —Lena Izmailova, Chair of Shirat Ha-Yam, Our Sister Congregation in Odessa, Ukraine (March 23, 2022)

PASSOVER 2022:

Thanks to grants received from WUPJ and HIAS, Elena Izmailova, the chair of Congregation Shirat Ha-Yam in Odessa, was able to pull together a Passover seder as well as distribute food packages to members of the Jewish community. Food resources were trucked in especially for the holiday. Those photographed at left risked their lives to gather together at the Odessa Hillel building to celebrate Passover, a celebration of freedom. See more photos from this unique seder, you helped make possible through your generous donations.

Zoom screen shot of the Congregation Beth Am of Poltava community virtual seder. Irina Beleskya helped conduct it with Eugenia Noshenko, the Poltava Jewish community leader.

Tue, April 16 2024 8 Nisan 5784