Rabbi Julie's April 2022 Letter to Congregation

posted Apr 3, 2022, 4:29 PM by Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir
April 2022 

Dear Chevre,

As we enter our season of liberation, I know many of our hearts are heavy with news from Ukraine. That part of the world holds a special resonance for Jews around the world. The Hassidic movement was born in what is now called Ukraine and some of our ancestors come from there. Fifty-two Hassidic Rebbes are products of that territory, including the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hassidut, and his students Pinchas of Koretz, Dov Baer the Maggid of Mezerich, Reb Nahum Twersky of Chernobyl, Lev Yitzhak of Berditchev, and more. The burial place of Rebbe Nahman of Bratslav (author of the quote we frequently sing "All the whole wide world is just a narrow bridge...." and much else) is a pilgrimage site to this day.

Our prayers go out to the refugees fleeing from the devastating war zone, and it is heartwarming to see the warm welcome many of them are receiving in Europe. That is how all refugees from any part of the world should be treated: with welcoming shelter, food, clothes and medical care, work permits and respect. We can support the Ukrainians while we also bemoan that some people seem to qualify for compassion while others do not. Let us help make this standard of welcome available to all people fleeing danger or destruction no matter their skin color, language or religion.

Judaism teaches us, especially at this season, that we were strangers in a strange land and we must always welcome the stranger. As we extend this value into more global and universal spaces even beyond our tribe of Jewish kin, I am proud to share this Jewish value of welcome with the world.

Blessings for the runway to Passover, I hope to see you at the Seder!

Rabbi Julie