Zelensky hopes for ‘defeat of evil’ as Jewish Ukrainian refugees mark Passover

Israel’s Immigration Ministry hosts Ukrainians for Seder at over 40 hotels around country; Jewish Agency has holiday meal in Poland; volunteers help Jewish community in Chernivtsi

Ukrainian Jews are hosted by the Jewish Agency for a Passover seder in Warsaw, Poland, on April 15, 2022. (Screenshot/Channel 12 news)
Ukrainian Jews are hosted by the Jewish Agency for a Passover seder in Warsaw, Poland, on April 15, 2022. (Screenshot/Channel 12 news)

In a video address Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wished the Jewish community a happy Passover.

“I sincerely wish all those who celebrate in Ukraine and in the world — peace, good, and the inevitable defeat of any evil that threatens freedom and life on Earth, ” he said, concluding with “Chag Pesach Sameach” in Hebrew.

Thousands of refugees who fled Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to Israel were hosted Friday night for Passover Seders by the Immigration and Absorption Ministry.

According to the Walla news site, some 4,000 refugees had Seders at 40 different hotels across the country. Immigration and Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata and her family joined one at Tel Aviv’s Dan Panorama.

In this image from video provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks from Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, April 15, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

“Obviously the situation isn’t easy for them, but we are trying to bring them as much joy as possible, to embrace them,” Tamano-Shata told Channel 12 news.

Other staff from her office and their families joined in various Seders around the country, led by rabbis from Beit Hillel, Chabad, and other Jewish groups.

Tamano-Shata said Friday some 14,000 new immigrants had arrived in Israel from Ukraine and surrounding countries since the war began in late February.

“For them, it is their personal exodus from Egypt,” she wrote on Facebook.

Meanwhile, in Poland, the Jewish Agency, a quasi-governmental organization that encourages Jewish immigration to Israel, hosted a Seder for around 100 Ukrainian refugees who are waiting to immigrate to the Jewish state.

“For these Jews, it is a holiday of freedom,” said Shay Felber, the head of the Jewish Agency’s Immigration and Absorption Department.

In western Ukraine’s Chernivtsi, Israeli volunteers helped the small local Jewish community hold the Passover Seder, in footage published by Channel 12.

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