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לֹא יִשָּׂא גוֹי אֶל גוֹי חֶרֶב לֹא יִלְמְדוּ עוֹד מִלְחָמָה.

Nation shall not lift sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. -Isaiah 2:4, Micah 4:3

There is a heartbreak that has settled over a world just emerging from a pandemic. That painful chapter has rolled into the war raging in Ukraine, and the horror of watching the innocent being displaced and terrorized. Many of our ancestors came from the Pale of Settlement-made up western Ukraine- and we have a long relationship with the land and its challenges. We too lived there in terror-displaced with the fear of pograms and destruction looming large.

During the current crisis, it is easy to feel helpless and adrift, especially as we Jews have more than a passing familiarity with displacement and death at the hands of an aggressor. The holiday of Purim that begins this Wednesday night retells a story which crystallizes the experience of the Jew- an evil madman with a plan to exterminate our people once and for all.

In these moments of challenge and pain, there is only one course of action. In the words of Abraham Joshua Heschel, we must pray with our feet. Contributions to charities which are supporting refugees are a positive step forward. One such effort is being spearheaded by congregants Ann and Rob Klegon who are fundraising to co-sponsor a refugee family through RefugeeOne. Their campaign "Rebuilding Home Together" is accepting contributions to reach their goal to help a newly-arrived refugee family rebuild their home in Chicago. We have added a link to the bulletin to make donating easy. Please join me in the effort.

Finally, this prayer by Joanne Fink:

Prayer for Ukraine Holy One, Source of Strength, War has begun, and innocent people are dying. We ask Your protection for Ukraine and its citizens. We pray for their safety and the security of the country, and for the neighboring countries—Hungary, Poland, and Rumania, among others— that have opened their borders to provide humanitarian corridors and safe passage for all those who wish to evacuate. We seek the comfort of believing that everything will be all right, even in the face of insurmountable odds. Quiet the fears that threaten to deafen us; grant us Shleimut— the inner peace we so desperately seek. Help us remain calm and reach out to those in need. May this horrific situation be diffused swiftly with minimal casualties. Bless our world leaders with the ability to work together for the greater good, and the wisdom to make wise decisions during this turbulent time. Bless the people of all nations with the desire, strength and courage to create a world based on justice and filled with peace.

May the words of Isaiah 2:4: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war anymore” become true in our day—in this very hour. Source of Goodness, shine Your healing light on us and all those in the Ukraine we hold in our hearts. Shelter us, shield us, show us the path to peace. May we each be inspired to use our unique gifts to usher in an era of enduring peace. And let us say: Amen.

Cantor Shelly Drucker Friedman


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