While the war between Russia and Ukraine continues, leaders from Jewish Columbus are aiding refugees on a spiritual level.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — As the Russian-Ukraine war carries on, some of the leaders from JewishColumbus return home after aiding refugees at the border, but their efforts are now going to a spiritual level.
Joel Marcovitch, the president and CEO of JewishColumbus recounts his experience, saying it’s hard to put into words.
“You can tell that they’re altered for life, you can tell that their story and what they’ve gone through has really impacted them profoundly,” Marcovitch said. “I’ve never really experienced trauma that was palpable to have such an effect on me and the people we were with.
The local team has contributed over $310,000 to help refugees in trauma maneuver to their next steps.
“Our organization helps basically rent out three hotels in Warsaw as well as the buses to take people from the border to Warsaw where they could stay there and also there was a preschool that was set up by teachers who came from Israel and have trauma training, Marcovitch explains.
Max Brickman, board member of JewishColumbus says many were left in a state of “what’s next?”
“They’re crossing over into safety, but knowing that there are their fathers, husbands and brothers that are not able to cross over, and they know but they are still needing to deal with and needing to battle,” says Brickman.
Some of the refugees were Holocaust Survivors, experiencing the trauma all over again.
Some of whom were Holocaust survivors are experiencing the trauma all over again.
“It feels like a flashback from a time where they were persecuted by the Nazis,” Marcovitch said. “Now they have to leave their homes again after so many decades later after the Holocaust – it’s unfathomable.”
Now, the faith organization is meeting a call from Poland’s Chief Rabbi.
“His major concern is he’s going to have thousands of Ukrainian refugees with really no place to go for a seder and none of the prayer books that talk about the freedom from oppression in Egypt are in Ukraine, so they needed a translation and they needed support in order to pay for probably a thousand people doing seder,” explains Marcovitch.
So thanks to the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Family Foundation in partnership with JewishColumbus, the local organization will be offering seder to 1,000 Ukrainian refugees in Poland.”
“It’s not lost on me, the parallels between the story of exodus going through an oppressive regime of the Egyptians or a place that wasn’t safe to a place of freedom,” says Marcovitch. “And to know that thousands and thousands of Ukrainian Jews have crossed the border from where they were being persecuted into freedom, and of those 6,000 will be celebrating their first night of seder in Israel, I think is an incredible thing for them to experience freedom in an entirely new level.”
If you would like to support their continued efforts, you can go to their website.
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