In a strong show of unity and resilience amid the ongoing war in Ukraine, now exceeding 500 days, the Federation of Jewish Communities in Ukraine (FJCU) announced plans to distribute 52,000 holiday kits to Jewish communities nationwide. The initiative aims to support spiritual and emotional well-being during the upcoming Jewish holidays.
In a statement on behalf of the FJCU on Sunday, the organization noted, "We hadn't imagined observing another holiday season under the dark cloud of war." Last year was especially grim as "dozens from our community lost their lives, both serving in the Ukrainian military and due to indiscriminate bombings in multiple cities."
Despite this bleak backdrop, recent changes in curfew policies have offered a ray of hope. "With the curfew now starting at midnight in several cities," the statement said, "it's anticipated to lead to greater attendance at synagogues." Many synagogues and community centers have also seen a rise in new memberships as people seek solace during these challenging times.
Providing support for Ukrainian Jewry
In collaboration with Chabad emissaries, the FJCU's holiday kits are intended to offer a broad range of support. According to their statement, these kits will include "abbreviated prayer books for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, a recipe booklet for all of the holidays that take place during the Hebrew month of Tishrei, various calendars, and festive foods such as honey and wine."
Rabbi Meir Stambler, the chairman of the FJCU, emphasized the emotional weight of the upcoming holidays. "The haunting words from our prayers regarding life and death have never been more resonant," he said. "But amid the trials, like all Ukrainian Jews, I nurture a hope for peace and serenity in the coming days."
In addition, Russia launched an overnight air attack against Ukraine on Sunday, sending missiles over other northern and central parts of the country, authorities said. The Ukrainian military reported shooting down four cruise missiles out of up to eight total airborne targets detected, adding that the rest of the targets were "probably false." It also said there were no immediate reports of strikes. The governor of Kyiv region, Ruslan Kravchenko, said two people had been wounded and 10 buildings damaged by falling missile debris in one unspecified area of the region.