Early this month, six delegates from Nashville’s Jewish community journeyed to Poland to bear witness to and provide aid to refugees fleeing Ukraine during the Russian invasion. The mission participants traveling on behalf of The Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee were Federation Board members Leslie Kirby, Fred Zimmerman, Jacob Kleinrock, Past President Steve Hirsch, Rabbi Joshua Kullock of West End Synagogue, and Deborah Oleshansky, Director of Community Relations for The Federation. The travelers heard the stories, supported those on the ground providing critical services, and brought much needed supplies and over $20,000 in cash to assist in the effort. There were tears, laughter, and pain. But in the end, there was great pride in those working so hard, despite their own trauma and displacement, to care for the mostly women and children pouring into the country.
Barbara Dab, Editor of The Observer newspaper, sat down with the six travelers to discuss their trip. The conversation spanned more than an hour and will be broadcast in two parts. The podcast, titled Nashville’s Jewish Observer, can be found on Spotify. The first episode, Mission to Poland Part 1, introduces the group, and begins the emotional retelling of their journey.