The Temple Sholom congregation held a special interfaith service in solidarity with Ukraine on Wednesday evening, March 23rd, in person at their sanctuary at 2075 East 68th Street and virtually via Zoom. The event was extremely well-attended, with more than 50 members of the community participating virtually.
In addition to prominently displaying the blue and yellow Ukranian Flag, members of the congregation performed “Shche ne vmerla Ukrainy i slava, i volia,” the country’s National Anthem, to show their support and express their solidarity with the people whose nation has been in peril for over a month now. The group sang and prayed in Hebrew and in English for an end to the violence and reflected on Torah readings from the books of Exodus and Leviticus, which offered some wisdom to those who wish to help, but may not know how or may feel that they aren’t doing enough.
Like those in the readings who used their varying levels of strength and ability to help construct an ancient tabernacle, Cantor Zachary Konigsberg compassionately explained that we all have an important part to play, even if what we are capable of seems small compared to the big things others are doing. While some may be able to give of themselves financially, by making monetary donations that help airlift supplies to those in need, and others may be able to volunteer to take up arms, serve as a medic or ferry refugees to safety, he explained that the rest of us can do the albeit easier but also extremely important work of praying.
Traditional evening prayer, during which time the Jewish people ask God for additional peace and protection was particularly meaningful, as comparisons were drawn to the dark time Ukrainians are experiencing. The group prayed that the darkness would soon come to an end there and that God would remove the evil forces surrounding Ukraine so that peace and security would soon return.
Beloved Deacon Frank D’Accordo of neighboring St. Bernard Catholic Church, located at 2055 East 69th Street, was graciously invited to participate and agreed with Cantor Konigsberg, saying that he had tremendous faith in the power of prayer and that he believed it could bring about a peaceful resolution. He prayed that leaders would act with compassion and wisdom that the people would have the courage and strength to carry them through and that a just resolution would soon bring peace, as do we all.