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“Unprecedented,” Rabbi Zecher’s Shabbat Awakenings

March 4, 2022 |  1 Adar II 5782

Welcome to Shabbat Awakenings as we make our way toward Shabbat.  You can listen to it as a podcast here.

Unprecedented is the word that has described the shock and disgust toward the unprovoked war in Ukraine by the Russian egomaniac leader.

Unprecedented are the people of Ukraine, mainly women and children, leaving their spouses, siblings, and offspring who have taken up arms to defend their country as a volunteer army.

Unprecedented is the number of one million citizens of a free country fleeing for their lives within just one week.

And unprecedented is the welcome they are receiving as they enter countries to their western borders greeting them with open arms and providing refuge.

It is demoralizing and frustrating to watch in horror the bombardment upon bombardment. It is exacerbated by images of parents standing on train platforms with children’s faces pressed against the glass. Scenes of destruction are everywhere. How could history be repeating itself occurring in a land that has deep connection to many Jews? How could one person manipulate and mangle the truth to cause such destruction — again? In addition to the hundreds of thousands in the Jewish community there now, many of us trace our roots to its towns and cities. Those places also served as home to many Jewish scholars and teachers. We have built new relationships, brought Torah scrolls to their communities, celebrated the resurrection of Judaism.

We cannot believe all is lost. We must not.

Unprecedented are many nations joining together to prevent escalation as the worst reaction.

Unprecedented is the use of non-violent economic and social tactics to attack Putin and his associates.

Unprecedented are the many kindnesses extended to the Ukrainians seeking refuge.

Unprecedented is the fear we all feel by a situation not experienced in 80 years.

So we turn to one another. We find strength in community. The follow words were offered by Rabbi Alexander Dukhovny directly from Kyiv last Shabbat who serves a liberal congregation there.

…Many have said we are like David and Goliath. Like David, we will prevail. We will conquer evil. Our unity shows many people that we are one nation… We are children of God…We are fighting for our life and for our democracy. I hope peace will come soon and we celebrate Purim in a free democratic Ukraine.

So may it be.

Shabbat Shalom.

If you’d like to provide financial assistance, please consider visiting the WUPJ / EUPJ Ukraine Emergency Support page to donate.

  • We join together, onsite and online at 6:00 p.m., to gather strength from one another in the face of war in Ukraine, as we bring in Shabbat with prayers of safety, hope, and peace. Join on Zoom, on Facebook Live, or stream on our website.
  • Tot Rock Shabbat gathers online at 5:00 p.m.
  • Torah Study begins at 9:00 a.m. To join the conversation interactively, access website or Facebook page.
  • Thank Goodness It’s Shabbat at TI. Onsite and outdoors with Wayne Potash and clergy.  No need to register; just come!  In case of inclement weather, we will move indoors with masks.  Questions?  Contact Village Coordinator Heidi Smith Hyde.
  • We say goodbye to Shabbat and welcome a new week at 8:00 p.m. with Havdalah and a Celebration of National Refugee Shabbat — The program will feature Havdalah, led by Rabbi Dan Slipakoff, and remarks by Jerry Rubin, President and Chief Executive Officer of JVS, and Elizabeth Sweet, the new Executive Director at Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) CoalitionJoin on Zoom, or Facebook Live, or stream on our website.

Connect with me here. I look forward to corresponding with you and to hearing your thoughts.

Shabbat Shalom!