JCFR Mission to Ukraine: Thursday, June 18
Ukraine, Crisis and Renewal
They say “to see it is to believe it.” The last few days in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine have been so.
Our delegation has witnessed the best and worst that humanity has to offer ... We have seen the displaced people who remember the atrocities of World War II. These were the people who fled their homes with only what they could carry. Their options to return home were and are still bleak. Even still, most lived close to the frontline and may not have a home to return to.
I am impressed with the young displaced people; their courage and sense of optimism is amazing. For the elderly who suffered through The Shoah, Stalinism and Communism this is yet another struggle in a very hard life. Yet their will to live is inspiring.
We are also witnessing the rebirth of Judaism in this part of the world. The fire of evil may have tried to consume the Jews of Eastern Europe but the flames were not successful in completely destroying our people.
Day camp orientation took place yesterday at the Menora Center in Dnepropetrovsk. The room was filled with laughing, rambunctious Jewish children. Through the donations of JCFR, and the collective contributions of the Jewish Federations of North America, combined with the on-the-ground efforts of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), there is now, finally, evidence of rebirth and renewal. The system is working, thanks to you.
This has been a heart wrenching and inspiring trip. One of dualities and extremes, but one I will never forget.
Matt Langsam, Assistant Executive Director, JCFR