Dear Friends,

As we prepare to celebrate Shabbat and as we hope to experience some peace, comfort, and elevation, a rapidly evolving catastrophe in and around the Ukraine, perhaps the largest refugee crisis in a generation, is unfolding before our eyes. We, descendants of refugees and survivors of violence and hate cannot and must not remove our gaze and remain silent. Of all people, we can relate to the plight of traumatized children and teens, of young parents seeking to flee to safety with infants, of those who witness their dreams crumble, and of the struggle of the sick, the vulnerable, and the infirm in the face of overwhelming violence and destruction. We know the pain of those who seek to escape and cannot find refuge. The images we see and sounds we hear are all too familiar and painful. At this moment, we are called to empathy, solidarity, and action.

Please join us in the following three efforts led by the Temple’s clergy and staff, Social Action Committee, and Teen Program: The collection of needed items for refugees, raising financial support for refugees, and advocacy for the admission of refugees to the United States.

  1. At this time, we seek donations of the following items to be delivered to our neighbors at Pokrova Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church and transferred to needy refugees:
  • Blankets – Bed Covers – Duvet Covers
  • Sleeping bags
  • Towels
  • Jackets and Coats
  • Socks
  • Hygiene Products
  • Backpacks
  • Tweezers
  • Safety pins
  • First Aid Kits
  • Pain Relievers
  • Goggles
  • Men’s work gloves
  • Powdered infant formula
  • Children’s vitamins
  • Diapers

Please drop these items off at entrance to the Temple in the designated area at the main entrance at the following times:

  • Mondays, 5:30pm to 8:30pm
  • Wednesdays, 3:30pm to 6:30pm
  • Fridays, 4:30pm to 7:30pm
  • Saturdays, 8:30am to 11:30am and 2:30 to 5:30pm
  • Sundays, 8:30am to 12:30pm.
  1. Support the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s effort to care for refugees by making a monetary donation here.
  2. Given the magnitude of this crisis, join in our advocacy effort by reaching out to elected representatives to promote the admission of Ukrainian refugees to the United States. If you are interested in participating in this effort, please contact Joanna Cullinan at and we will respond to you with specific guidance and instructions.

Additional programs and events to support the victims of this crisis will be taking place at the Temple in the coming weeks. Please be alert to Temple communication in this regard. Thank you in advance for your compassion and action on behalf of fellow human beings in need.

The tragedy now taking place highlights the plight of refugees and vulnerable populations throughout the world, and our Temple has had a remarkable record of support for refugee causes, especially in our area. May our actions continue to translate Torah to life, and to offer a measure of comfort and succor for others in need.

With best wishes for a meaningful and restful Shabbat and prayers for peace,

Rabbi Jonathan Cohen