Over the past month, our community has responded admirably to the needs of our Jewish brothers and sisters facing the upheaval of the war in Ukraine, and for that we deeply thank you on behalf of all those who you have helped at this crucial moment in time.
What has become apparent as the war continues, however, is that unfortunately this crisis will not be just a moment in time – we now foresee that the needs of those who are fleeing Ukraine will likely stretch on for years and require a much longer-term investment upon the part of the world and the Jewish community in particular.
The Young Israel Congregation has chosen to join the Shuls for Ukrainian Jewry campaign - working in conjunction with communities around North America, the OU, RCA, and National Council of Young Israel - to raise much needed funds for a Maot Chittim campaign for the refugee families to have food for Pesach. Our campaign funds are being allocated to feed the refugees in Moldova over yuntif, and if additional funds are raised, to help acheinu bnei yisrael in other refugee camps and beyond affected by this conflict.
The Rema, in Shulchan Aruch, explains the idea behind the time-honored tradition of Maot Chitim. We cannot properly celebrate the chag of Pesach without first providing the poor with their Pesach necessities. In fact, we can only fully rejoice with true simchat hachag when we bring joy to our needy brethren as well.
We in the Young Israel community have set a goal to raise $100,000 and we have already received a match for up to $50,000 to provide funding for food distributions for refugees in need. Every cent raised by this campaign will be distributed directly to partners on the ground working to take care of Jewish refugees wherever they are now, and to help them get settled wherever they are going.
As we prepare for our Pesach seders, we must be acutely aware that just as we were all once refugees caught between Mitzrayim and a homeland that we had not yet reached, so too there are many Jews today who find themselves adrift. Yet this time, they have us, the wider Jewish community, to provide the help they need as they rebuild their lives.