From the Desk of the Federation Executive Director: With gratitude 4/8/22

By Shelley Hubal

When we see the images of Ukrainian people fleeing for their lives with little more than the clothes on their backs, we can’t help but be reminded of the Exodus of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. As of this writing, more than four million refugees have left their homes in Ukraine. This horrific moment in human history is happening in real time. It is frustrating that the world is standing by and watching these horrors happen. 

I am sitting here today with a broken heart. My soul is in agony over the lives that have been senselessly lost, for the people that are forced to flee or to live in basements with no food or running water. Would you have the courage to make the choice to save yourself and your children, and leave your elderly parents alone to survive? I don’t think I would. Only God knows when this war will end and why there is so much suffering. 

If you are looking to make a difference, donating to any number of reputable relief agencies that are doing the work in Ukraine, Poland and many other places is one obvious way to help. For information on how to contribute to JFNA’s efforts, see page 3 of this paper or visit If you search the web for “ prayers for Ukraine,” you will find information on Chabad’s relief fund, as well as the Hebrew and English transliteration of Psalm 20. God does hear our prayers and they do make a difference.

In a few days, we will celebrate Passover. For many of us, it will have a deeper meaning this year. The tears our ancestors cried are the same tears our fellow human beings are crying today. We cried to end the tyranny. We cried for the loss of our freedom. 

There are lessons to be learned in dark times. One of the podcasts I regularly listen to recently referred to a quote by Viktor Frankl: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” There is a lot of dark stimulus right now. My wish for all of you is to find the strength to pause in that glorious space where your tender heart knows the answers and chooses responses every day that will make this world a better place.

Chag Pesach sameach. God should grant us all peace.