Russia-Ukraine war: Ukraine chief rabbi to Russian rabbis: Stop the war

"All those who are indifferent, who agree in silence or not in silence, are partners in crime, in a war crime! A crime against humanity!"

 Chabbad Rabbi Moshe Reuven Asman stands outside the Chabad Tehila synagoguein the renewing Jewish community near the village of Antebka near the city of Kiev in Ukraine, on February 14, 2018. (photo credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90)
Chabbad Rabbi Moshe Reuven Asman stands outside the Chabad Tehila synagoguein the renewing Jewish community near the village of Antebka near the city of Kiev in Ukraine, on February 14, 2018.
(photo credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90)

WARSAW – Chief Rabbi of Ukraine Rabbi Moshe Reuven Asman recorded a video Wednesday calling for influential Russian Jews and rabbis to help stop the terrible war between Ukraine and Russia.

“I turn to the rabbis of Russia, to the Jews of Russia and to ordinary Russians, with one message: People, stop the war! Do not be frustrated by what you are told on TV – you are being lied to. A war crime is taking place here,” he said on a video in Russian, speaking dramatically and hugging a Torah scroll. 

He said, “The Russian army, which defeated the Nazis in 1941, today bombs Kyiv, in a civilian area.

"Kyiv. Kharkiv. Odessa. Just now, they bombed the Babyn Yar memorial site. Five minutes ago, three rockets landed there," he continued.

"It's symbolic, a place where there are about two hundred thousand Jews who were murdered for no doing nothing wrong.” 

 A blast is seen near a TV tower adjacent to the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine March 1, 2022.  (credit: Carlos Barria/Reuters) A blast is seen near a TV tower adjacent to the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine March 1, 2022. (credit: Carlos Barria/Reuters)

“Old women and children have been calling me from all over Kyiv. Jews and non-Jews – Ukrainians, Russians. They are seeking help [and] humanitarian aid. Every day, I deal with helping and rescuing people. Innocents. Old women and children. Old women tell me that they are going to die without their medication. Mothers who are protecting their children from the bombs ask for help with food. Our volunteers risk their lives and work throughout the city of Kyiv and throughout the province.

“I didn’t leave, I'm here. Because I'm not an indifferent person, nor will I leave my community. I am a rabbi of Ukraine, and I am proud that I have the opportunity to save people. I am proud to be on the side of light, and not on the side of the killers,” he said. 

“I was silent for a long time, but I can no longer be silent. I turn to you – dear citizens of Russia, dear Jews, dear Russians! All those who are not indifferent, remember – all those who are indifferent, all those who agree in silence or not in silence – are partners in crime, in a war crime! A crime against humanity!"

He adds that Russia has something to learn from the Israeli army: “When the Israeli army bombs terrorists, they fire accurate missiles and do everything to make the attack as accurate as possible, all with the aim of not harming an innocent population.”