In the nearly twelve months since our group visited Poland and the Ukrainian refugees, of all the scenes we witnessed, one image keeps coming back to me. It’s the sight of a line of mothers with children and strollers waiting patiently to get food, clothing and supplies provided by Jewish communities all over the world.
It’s a scene I’ve referred to numerous times because it has the shock of recognition. As I’ve explained, from a certain angle you’d think you were at your neighborhood grocery, not a JCC in Krakow. You could almost see your neighbors in that line.
Between that memory and the pictures coming from places like Dnipro and Kharkiv, it’s hard to find many signs of hope. But they’re there.
Hope comes from the stream of immigrants to Israel. It comes from the special effort to fund Masa programs for Ukrainian and Russian and Moldovan young adults to give them a chance at a new path forward. It comes from the project to convert a summer camp in Hungary to house refugees. There are relief efforts from the JDC and Jewish Agency, and IsraAid, and Chabad, to name a few; and there are many more that have not and will not be named.
They might not get the attention that explosions get, but they’re no less real, and they’re no less important. More so because it’s how we in Nashville do something concrete and meaningful for people we may never meet.
This reminds me why I got involved in the Jewish community. It’s why I’m committed to our Federation and our collective effort. We’re at our best when we’re part of something bigger, part of a global Jewish community. And it truly is a global effort among North American, European, and Israeli Jewish communities. No agendas other than saving and protecting lives.
Unfortunately, there’s no crystal ball to tell us how this will end. Soon, we hope. In the meantime, we should all be committed to being part of our community’s efforts to ease suffering and bring hope—contributing, volunteering, lobbying, whatever moves you—because it’s what we do best.