WASHINGTON – The American Jewish Committee hosted its traditional Ambassadors’ Seder on Wednesday, bringing together 90 diplomats from over 60 countries, including envoys from Israel, France, Egypt, China and Turkey.
This was the 31st Ambassadors’ Seder hosted by AJC Washington, and was attended by 300 people at Adas Israel Congregation.
Like last year, the keynote speaker was Oksana Markarova, Ambassador of Ukraine to Washington. She thanked the US administration and the Jewish community for their support and said that much like the story of Passover, the Ukrainian people are also seeking freedom.
What else did Markarova say at the Seder?
“It has been 399 days of a full-fledged war; 399 days of a brutal Russian invasion against a peaceful and much smaller country,” said Markarova. “These were 399 days of the largest war in Europe since World War II, of all kinds of horrible atrocities; all kinds of war crimes that are committed in Ukraine by Russian soldiers against Ukrainian women and men,” she said.
“But these were also 399 days of our heroic and, [on some] days, almost impossible fight that our president [Volodymyr] Zelensky, our brave soldiers everywhere on the front lines, our teachers, our healthcare practitioners – pretty much all Ukrainian – are fighting to defend our homes, to defend our loved ones, our borders, and of course, our independence and freedom.”
She thanked the US for “unimaginable solidarity from the American people and unparalleled support from the American administration. Everyone – from President [Joe] Biden personally to everyone in the administration, to the US Congress on a very strong bipartisan basis, and essentially to every American.
“We will always remember this support, this existential support that we were given by [our] American friends,” Markarova said.
“I want to also say a special thank you to the Jewish community in the United States; to the leadership of the AJC, but also to each member. You have been family always, but during the past 13 months especially,” the ambassador said. “We always knew that the Jewish part is an inseparable part of [our] Ukrainian family.
“We have a very special place in Ukraine, a place of pilgrimage in Uman where Rabbi Nachman is buried,” she said. “And he said that the exodus from Egypt, the exodus from slavery, occurs in every human being, in every era and in every day.
“This is what we are going through now; this is what we do on a daily basis now in Ukraine,” Markarova said. “We get out from slavery and fight for our freedom. And the message of Passover remains as powerful as ever today when [we] Ukrainians fight for our freedom.”