Rabbi Julia Gris, Reform rabbi of Shirat ha-yam in Odessa, Ukraine, speaks on March 6 about her escape to Poland.
This is her prayer for Ukraine:
PRAYER FOR UKRAINE – Rabbi Gris
God of Peace we call to you, hearts pounding, as we pray for the people of Ukraine who are suffering under tyrannous attack. Hear the prayers of ours and support our commitments to stand with them in their time of great need, please.
How can we say ‘Never Again’ when bombs fall on Babi Yar? When millions must run for their lives or take shelter in synagogues and subway stations? Haven’t we learnt? You, who remembers all, do not forsake us, as we relearn the painful lessons.
In every generation there arise those who in selfish pursuit of power, privilege or with might to overwhelm rights, precipitate needless earthquakes despite the fathomless human pain that will follow. Expose further oppression meant for us. Diminish their power.
God you have also witnessed great heroism during these dark days; human beings’ passionate bid against the tanks with their bare hands, the brave Jewish president of Ukraine – Vladmir Zelensky – and his family, millions of Ukrainians fighting to protect their homes. There is your image, strong and courageous, your fearsome presence is your outreached arm. We ask that you remind us to offer our own.
As one of Ukraine’s greatest teachers, Rabbi Nachman, once taught: the Exodus from Egypt occurs in every human being, in every era, in every year and in every day.
Holy One, may this teaching be fulfilled speedily and in our days. May peace reign down upon the people of Ukraine. May we study war no more.
And let us say ‘Amen’.
The primary organizer of Gris’ Zoom appearance was the Free Synagogue of Flushing.