This year, our Deli Shabbos has a distinctly different feel to it. On the one hand (as Tevye would say), it feels different because we are finally able to gather again, and I am looking forward to seeing you on Friday night for a Shabbat worship experience which beautifully integrates melodies from Fiddler on the Roof. On the other hand, the situation unfolding in Ukraine invites us to consider the profound impact Jews have had on that part of the world.
In a recent article that has been shared around the Jewish world, Rabbi Irwin Keller emphasizes, “It is important to resist schmaltzy Fiddler-style nostalgia for Jewish life as it was once lived in the Ukraine, but it is also right to notice how that land is imprinted on us, and how we are imprinted on it. There are not many places you can go in the world that doesn’t have some Jewish imprint. In Ukraine it is profound.”
As you read or listen to this article, it becomes very clear that Jewish life would not be the same without the history of the Jews in the Ukraine. It is also clear that the Ukraine would not have been the same without the Jews.
As this war continues to unfold, we pray for a shift in the tide in this dark sea of conflict – so that harmony can replace hostility, relief can supplant pain, and hope can end despair.