By Jenn Ross
This year’s Purim was joyous for me. The 2020 community carnival and Megillah readings were the last hoorah before the COVID pandemic changed our lives. It was invigorating to reconvene in person at the JCC, the joint Chisuk Emuna/Beth El reading and Spiel, and the Women’s Megillah Reading in March, and it was fun to bake hamantaschen with JCC team members for the carnival.
In the midst of this joy, there is much sorrow. At the Women’s Megillah Reading, Marian Frankston provided a powerful D’var referencing the modern-day Haman creating the crisis in Ukraine. The situation is unfathomable and the long-term repercussions are enormous even if the fighting ceases soon. It is overwhelming to hear figures of the millions of refugees and homes destroyed. Each day I pray for the people of Ukraine, but prayers alone are not enough.
Our Federation was among 375 organizations which signed a March 18 letter initiated by JFNA to President Biden urging him to grant Temporary Protected Status to Ukrainians currently in the US and to admit Ukrainians with pending immigrant visa petition as refugees.
Financial support is desperately needed. We encourage you to support JFNA’s Crisis in Ukraine campaign at jewishfederations.org/crisis-in-ukraine2022. This page provides details about the needs and updates on the crisis. We also regularly post information on our Facebook page at facebook.com/jewishfedhbg and in updates in Kol Central PA on Tuesday and in our Friday Federation emails.
JFNA is also seeking Russian/Ukrainian-speaking Jewish high-level professionals with background in mental health and social work who can serve for 2-4 weeks on the borders of Ukraine to support refugees with resettlement and other needs. Interested parties can contact Olga Markus at Olga.Markus@Jewishfederations.org.
I also extend my prayers to those of you with family members and friends impacted by this crisis. I’ve spoken regularly with JCC member and friend Tanya Benoudiz and some of her thoughts and story are shared in this edition in the article written by Adam Grobman.
I hope you have a peaceful Passover, Easter, Ramadan, and Rama Navami. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-236-9555 x3104.