The conflict between Russia and Ukraine that began in February 2014 has caused over 10,000 civilian casualties and has displaced over 1.5 million. A roadmap for an end to the conflict was agreed upon on October 1, 2019, and the latest ceasefire went into effect on July 27, 2020, but by late summer 2020 an end to the conflict was not in sight.
In addition to the many civilian casualties, daily life had been disrupted throughout the conflict and many people could not get vital necessities, including food. Jewish community leaders are selflessly living in these difficult circumstances to assist our brethren in need, and Jewish life in Ukraine is thriving and blossoming thanks to their dedicated work.
For Passover, Chamah sent financial aid to many Jewish communities to provide for essentials including Matzah, wine, traditional holiday foods and holiday guides. Supported communities include Berdichev, Kamenskoye, Kremenchug, Mariupol, Nikolaev, Rovno, Khmelnitsky, Uzhgorod, Cherkassy, Chernivtsi and Chernigov.
In the summer, twenty five Jewish community leaders and their families, totaling over 150 people, were treated to a 7-day retreat with inspirational workshops and learning, catered meals, camaraderie, an opportunity to relax and recharge.
The retreat was held on beautiful grounds outside Dnipro, surrounded by pine forests, making it a real oasis with delicious, fresh air. Amenities included a pool, a private beach by a river, basketball court, ping-pong, a soccer field, and a playground. Fountains and ponds throughout the grounds made for a picture perfect setting.
A babysitting center was provided to give the parents much needed time to relax. The children enjoyed such treats as a circus, petting zoo, and foam show. It was a real joy to see children of all ages running around on the vast grounds, driving bicycles and toy cars talking and laughing together.