WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — On Friday, families in the Jewish community got together at sundown to celebrate Passover, a holiday remembering the history and strength of their faith. This year, Passover takes on added meaning with the crisis in Ukraine.
The Jewish Federation has raised nearly $2 million for Ukraine Emergency Relief, including $250,000 to provide Passover Seder Meals to upwards of 5,000 Ukrainians and refugees.
“We are there to sort of help ensure that they can continue to celebrate Passover and they can continue to celebrate the retelling of the story of the exodus from Egypt that we have done for thousands and thousands of years,” said Michael Hoffman, CEO, Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County.
Before the attack, Hoffman said Ukraine was home to an estimated 200,000 Jews. Hoffman, along with other members of the local Jewish Federation, were able to visit the border of Poland and Ukraine, to help bring refugees to safety.
“It was devastating,” said Hoffman.
As the war continues, they are hoping to keep the traditions of Passover overseas.
“We’re providing meals for Jews who are still in Ukraine,” said Hoffman. “We’re also providing meals for those Jews that are in other cities and other locations throughout Europe. We just want to do what we can just to provide help that as many of these Jews that are going through this Exodus or who are stuck facing danger in Ukraine, they can still participate in this global event, this global experience of retelling the story of the exodus from Egypt.”
Locally in Palm Beach County, the Jewish Federation and its partners are also providing Passover meals to locals in need.
Volunteers spent the week preparing meals and delivering them across the county to home bound seniors, families in need, and Holocaust survivors.
“This year, with things opening up and us being able to get together, we are starting to feel a little bit back to normal and have that connection,” said Beth Wayne, volunteer and board member with the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County. “The traditions that these holidays bring really make the holiday. Everyone around the world is sharing the same story and the same experiences and I think there is nothing like that.”