A Sabbath Message: Honoring our Holy Day of Rest

In this week’s Torah portion, Parashat Vayakhel, we are instructed to keep the holy day of Shabbat. As you venture into the weekend, I encourage you to take some time to honor the holiest day of rest in a way that is both meaningful and rejuvenating for you.

As soon as instructions for keeping Shabbat are concluded, the parsha goes on to list the many donations given by the Israelites for the construction of the Mishkan—God’s mobile home to reside in our midst as we journey on through the desert. The mobility of our faith has proven necessary many times throughout the ages. And so too now.

My heart breaks for the situation unfolding in Ukraine. The estimated 200,000 Jews living in Ukraine have been profoundly affected by the political and economic instability that have wracked the country. Thousands are trapped in conflict zones hiding in synagogues. Thousands more have fled the fighting.

For generations, the Jewish Federations of North America have and continue to be the foremost partners to Jews around the world. Federations are planning to allocate millions of dollars to our partner agencies on the ground to support the Jewish Community in Ukraine.

Immediate and short term needs already total $20 million and include:

  • Helping people make Aliyah to Israel
  • Securing the local community and its institutions
  • Maintaining critical welfare services
  • Assisting internally displaced people in multiple locations
  • Launching an emergency hotline
  • Securing temporary housing for people in transit
  • Purchasing satellite phones to maintain communications across the region
  • Securing five Jewish schools and training staff to manage crisis needs

If you would like to give directly to support the Jewish Community in Ukraine, you can use this link: jfeds.org/CrisisInUkraine.

Or you can give through our website and select "Crisis in Ukraine" to support the Jewish Community in Ukraine.

Thank you for all you do to support our Jewish Community. We are truly grateful for you.

Have a restful Shabbat!


Cyndi Silverman
Executive Director