passover seder
passover sederצילום: Shutterstock

Jews in Ukraine welcomed the third Passover (Pesach) of the war between Russia and Ukraine with a special letter sent by Prime Minister Denis Shmyhal to the Jewish community via the Chief Rabbi of Kyiv, Rabbi Yonatan Markovitch. Prime Minister Shmyhal expressed his hopes for true freedom and peace for all residents of Ukraine, in the spirit of the message carried by the holiday of freedom - Pesach.

On the first two nights of Pesach, over six hundred Jews from Kyiv participated in various communal Sedarim held at different locations, in order to allow as many Jews as possible to participate in the Seder while adhering to security restrictions that allowed for limited gatherings, ending before the nightly curfew on the streets of Ukraine's capital.

Prior to Pesach, volunteers from the JCC Beit Menachem Chabad community distributed matzah, wine, meat, and numerous food packages to Jews throughout Kyiv.

In a special operation led by Rabbi Markovitch, who serves as the prison chaplain in Ukraine, special services were also conducted for Jewish prisoners in prisons in Kyiv and throughout Ukraine.

A particularly moving event took place during the intermediate days of Pesach, when a group of Jewish soldiers wounded in the war in Ukraine came to express their gratitude to Rabbi Markovitch for his support and assistance throughout the year. The emotional meeting included a blessing of thanks and a festive Pesach meal, during which the soldiers conversed with the Rabbi about the essence of Pesach and the aspiration for peace and tranquility for Jews in both Ukraine and Israel.

"Kyiv was adorned with the holiday," says Rabbi Markovitch. "Jews of all kinds were able to celebrate this year's Pesach celebrations. At the central Seder night event, embassy staff and community members participated, alongside other services held for soldiers and special Sedarim in prisons. Security restrictions did not prevent the Sedarim from taking place, and the prayer 'Next year in Jerusalem' was recited with much intent and with hope for peaceful and secure days ahead."