Dear Reader,

As a child, I remember hearing about a far-away place, called Kyiv.

My mother was born in the city of Kyiv during the Communist Soviet regime. In the summer of 1946, as a young teenager, she and her family fled to freedom.

Many of the cities that are now in the news, are not just names to her. She vividly remembers these places. She remembers, too, the hardship of living as an observant Jew and the peril it entailed. Till today, she vividly recalls her terrifying escape, and her long path forward until she and my father finally settled in Toronto as emissaries of the Rebbe, over 60 years ago, dedicating their lives to helping others Jews.

I grew up hearing her stories and hearing about what life looked like in this faraway place, in another era of Jewish history. I learned to appreciate how different my life looked from hers, and how easy it was for me to live as a Jew.

Ukraine has completely changed over the years and is now home to over 350,000 Jews with a thriving Jewish infrastructure that includes synagogues, mikvahs, Jewish schools, and social services organizations. Thirty-five cities throughout the Ukraine are served by 200 Chabad-Lubavitch emissary families.

Last week, as bombs began to drop and an all-out war broke out in the Ukraine, these emissaries made the heroic choice to remain with their communities, providing much-needed material aid, encouragement, and most importantly, spiritual strength and support.

And right now, the Jews of the Ukraine need us! To donate to the Ukraine relief fund, click here.

No matter where we live, or what our financial means, we can all make a difference. Since the entire world is an organic whole, we are all connected. Our words, thoughts and actions have cosmic effect, and can have an effect half-way across the world.

Let’s pray for the safety of our Jewish brethren in Ukraine along with all people in the affected areas. May they have the strength and resources to make it through this trying time. Let’s pray for a peaceful resolution to this conflict, and that we experience the time when “nations will beat their swords into plowshares … and not learn war anymore.”

Say a few heartfelt chapters of Psalms (especially Chapter 20).

Put a few coins into a charity box for a worthy cause. Resolve to light Shabbat candles before sunset on Friday afternoon, to bring down much needed light into our world. Do an act of kindness to increase goodness in our world.

May G‑d protect our Jewish brothers and sisters and anyone in harm’s way.

Chana Weisberg

Editor, TJW