Standing with Ukraine

by | Mar 31, 2022 | Community, Learning, Our Stories, Social Justice

The Rashi community has been engaged in ways online and in-person, in the classroom and at home, to connect with Ukraine since the start of the conflict in late February 2022.

Ukraine Briefing

Head of School Adam W. Fischer summarized a briefing on Ukraine earlier this month: The Ukraine Briefing for the Rashi Community offered by the JDC, our partner in issues concerning global Jewry, was exceptional and impactful. Middle School students echoed many of our sentiments when they expressed the tangible connection to those in danger created by their conversation with Inna, who joined us live from Odessa, Ukraine. We are grateful to the President of the Rashi Board and senior leaders of the community who provided this extraordinary opportunity for us to learn and to support people in harm’s way. A recording of the briefing is here.

Backpack Project

Director of Social Justice Stephanie Rotsky organized a ‘Child to Child’ Backpack Project. Each grade collected materials for children in need in Ukraine. Rashi students put together the backpacks, with cards and friendship bracelets, for the children of Ukraine. Rotsky shared that this was inspired by the proverb “Hillel said: Don’t separate yourself from the community. – Pirke Avot 2:4.”

Student Reflections

Hear directly from two Rashi middle schoolers about how they are processing this time.

Hava M:

In class, we talked about the Ukraine crisis. Our teachers have done a great job opening up safe spaces to share our thoughts and feelings, such as during Minyan or in Social Studies. I can’t personally relate to what Jews in Ukraine are experiencing, but I want them to know that others are supporting them. The Ukrainian people are in a devastatingly sad time right now, but I’d like them to know that we see their courageous actions and are wishing them the best as they seek refuge in other neighboring countries.

Rashi has also provided us with specific ways to help Ukrainians directly. I’ve donated bags of clothing to help Ukrainian refugees. In April, instead of handing out a giveaway at my bat mitzvah party I’m choosing to donate money to the JDC Ukraine Emergency Fund. I chose this organization after attending a middle school wide meeting with JDC representatives. During this briefing we spoke with a woman who was on the ground in Ukraine. We learned about what she’s been going through and how she’s been working to help Jewish Ukrainians. Listening to these speakers made me feel more educated and empowered to help out.

I hope that the people who are victims of war keep going even when it feels impossible, and never forget that they are not alone.

Lilah G:

My teachers have done a good job of educating us on the conflict in Ukraine. They have taken into account that all kids have different comfort levels when discussing this topic. Each of us were offered many different ways to learn, from reading the news to researching organizations. One of the most interesting ways I learned was when my class zoomed with a woman living in Ukraine. She shared her feelings about the trying times and how different her life has become since the war started.

 I can imagine that the Jewish community in Ukraine has only gotten stronger during this conflict. My class learned about rabbis here in Boston giving a helping hand to Ukranians in need. This is one way Jews around the world can come together. I wish peace and safety for the Ukrainian people and hope they are able to be with family and feel a sense of community. I hope they know we are spreading awareness about their situation  in the United States and that we are doing our best.