On February 24, 2022, the war began in Ukraine and the lives of many families were divided into before and after. Many families were forced to leave their homes in search of a safe place. In March, our team of 7 people ended up in Germany in the city of Berlin, where a new stage of our life began, which we want to share:
Our team:
Elisha Gabriel Pavlotskiy
Zalman Bukhinik
Soniya Miriam Nemaya
Ora Pavlotskaya
Beila Letichevskaya
Miriam Verbitskaya
Yonatan Yakovenko
Orli Yorkina
Zalman Kucher
Our counselors
Because of the war, many Jewish women, children and old people left Ukraine in search of a safer place for themselves and their families in Europe. Many of them did not know where to go, how to live further and keep in touch with Jewry. Thanks to the family of the Chief Rabbi of Berlin, Rabbi Yehuda and Rebbetzin Leah Teichtel, who came to our aid and actively supported our group since the beginning of the war, we have the opportunity to have place to live, kosher food, become an active and important part of the Chabad Berlin community, as a representative of a unique directions for working with Russian-speaking Jews. And here is a small report on what we managed to do:
Our victories
For 4 months we met about 50 families in Berlin, 200 Ukrainian Jewish refugees. With the help of the Chabad Berlin community, our participants received a residence permit in Berlin for 2 years under paragraph 24, live in special hotels with kosher food and kosher cuisine. Our children go to local Jewish schools and a kindergarten, where they are taught Jewish subjects and the German language. Every Friday there are Shabbat meals and the community provides all the conditions for observing the holidays and kosher Jewish life.
Passover 5782
This spring, we organized an Passover camp for Russian-speaking teenagers, which took place April 14-18 (Nisan 13-17). About 30 Ukrainian Jewish teenagers came to us, who are now in different European countries, such as Germany, Austria, Poland, etc. We had two Seders and a Kosher Passover together.
On April 20-24 (Nisan 19-23) we held a youth Passover camp, which was attended by about 30 young Jewish boys and girls from all over Europe. For them, it was a good opportunity to spend a kosher Passover and relax with friends during this difficult time.
Children's programs
From the end of March, we began to hold children's Sunday meetings. Participants are Russian-speaking boys and girls aged 6 to 12 years. In our classes, the guys listen to interesting lessons on the weekly chapter from the best teachers, train creative thinking and fine motor skills at master classes, study useful soft-skills and then consolidate their knowledge in a playful way at the event along with madrichs.
Since March, we have held 11 Sunday meetings and Shavuot with children and during this time more than 160 children have attended our programs.
Shabbat meals
In May, we started having Shabbat meals for teenagers every week. This is an opportunity for them to hear kiddush, eat kosher food and have fun on the Sabbath.
We had about 20 Shabbat meals (Fridays for girls and Saturdays for boys). In Berlin, our meetings are regularly attended by about 80 teenagers.
Every Friday and Melave Malka we gather Jewish boys and girls and go to meals with them. This project gives young people the opportunity to take a break from everyday life in good company and keep the sabbath in accordance with all the rules. We have opened a Russian-speaking youth movement, we form a community of young people around us and imbue them with the right Jewish values
We have hosted 15 youth meals since April. About 120 guys and girls join us on Shabbat.
Cteen Shabbathon in Budapest
Thanks to our partners - the organization "Cteen" we were able to take 25 teenagers from Ukraine to shabbaton in Budapest. This trip gave incredible impressions, new acquaintances and valuable experience for the guys, but the main thing is that they were able to escape from the burden that fell on their shoulders due to the war.
For shabbaton we brought about 25 Jewish teenagers from Ukraine who now live in Germany, Austria, Poland, Slovakia, etc. We had the biggest group on shabbaton
We have classes for women and men 5 days a week. Among the speakers there are such leading teachers in the field of Jewish education as Elisha Gabriel Pavlotskiy, Zalman Bukhinik. A women's club headed by Ora Pavlotskaya also started. At the opening of the project, women prepared challahs while listening to interesting lectures.
Women's club
Lesson for women
Lessons for men
Lessons for men
Since March, we have held 42 women's meetings and about 17 weekly women's lessons, more than 1200 women have come to these events. We organized two unique meetings of the women's club "Queen Hala", which were attended by about 80 women. There were 45 men's lessons attended by 357 men.
Search for apartments
Our next task is to resettle all our families in apartments. At the moment, we all live in hotels for refugees, but this cannot be forever, by August they cease to function for Ukrainians. Our goal is to find apartments for everyone within walking distance of the synagogue, so that our members have the opportunity to go to the synagogue for prayers on Shabbat and weekdays.
Thank you for being with us!
May the Almighty bless you and your family with all the blessings!