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B'nai Congregation celebrates Passover while reflecting on Ukrainians

Congregate says problems 2,000 years ago affecting others now
Posted at 11:39 PM, Apr 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-16 08:16:03-04

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Families in the Jewish community got together at sundown Friday to celebrate Passover

It's a holiday intended to remember the history of their religion and the strength that helped them persevere through adversity.

But some families said it's difficult to come together this Passover knowing so many have been ripped apart in Ukraine.

"So many of the problems that we had 2,000 years ago, our country, this world is having it right now in Ukraine," said Martin Kotler, a member of B'nai Torah Congregation in Boca Raton. "Our family has grown to about 35 now. ... And it gets to be a little rowdy."

Kotler is thankful to be surrounded by his family for Sedat but can't help thinking of all the Jewish families displaced in Ukraine for the holiday.

"We're concerned, very, very much, of those people that are stranded out there," Kotler said. "I don't know what position they're in, down a cellar or what or traveling around to one of those other countries to hope that they let them in."

Now Rabbi David Steinhardt with B'nai Torah is putting the call out for action.

"Because they're Ukrainian citizens, they've been impacted like everyone else," the rabbi said. "And for many of them they are either survivors from holocaust or the children and grandchildren of survivors, so for them it's reliving a horrible nightmare."

He said the B'nai has held fundraisers and collected some $40,000 for refugee relief and filled an entire airplane with supplies for humanitarian aid.

"You know, we're so far removed from there that it is, on one hand, it does feel very surreal," Steinhardt said. "On the other hand, it wasn't long ago that it happened to us."

According to the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County, there are more than 200,000 Jewish people living in Ukraine.

"Once this gets straightened out, hopefully, I would love to go to Ukraine," Kotler said. "I would love to walk those streets. I would love to tell the people what a great job they did and how wonderful the world thinks of them."

Click here to help the temple with their Ukraine relief.