The Binyamin Regional Council on Tuesday hosted Chabad-Ukraine emissaries and some 300 Jewish immigrants from Ukraine at a huge event in Ancient Shiloh for the immigrant families and the emissaries, as a first step in their integration into Binyamin villages.
The event focused on integration and tribute for the Jews who emigrated from Ukraine in the shadow of the war there, and honored the families of the Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries who are assisting the war refugees.
At this special event the families enjoyed a variety of activities for the children, along with guided tours of the site of the Tabernacle, audio-visual presentations, and workshops.
The event was attended by hundreds of Ukrainian Jewish children from the Zhitomir orphanage, who immigrated to Israel about two weeks ago. It opened with an emotional welcome from the Shiloh schoolchildren, who sang songs and gave each of the immigrants a personal gift.
During the guided tour of Ancient Shiloh for all the guests and students, the group recited “Hannah’s Prayer” at the site of the Tabernacle, and prayed for the good health and success of the families who have already arrived, and peace for the Jews who are still in Ukraine.
Eliana Passentin, International Desk Director for the Binyamin Regional Council, spoke to the group at the site of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). She told them how special and exciting it was for her personally to meet them, as Ms. Passentin is a former representative of the Foreign Ministry, and served in Odessa 27 years ago. Praying together at the actual site of the Mishkan with a prayer of thanksgiving for those who were able to reach safety in Israel as well as a prayer of hope for those left behind in the Ukraine was both heartwarming and meaningful, Passentin said.
The emissaries from Chabad-Ukraine thanked Binyamin Regional Council head Israel Ganz for the warm welcome the families received.
Ganz praised the emissaries and said: “The Jewish People have a home that they can always come to, thanks to wonderful emissaries like yourselves, who are spreading the light of the Tabernacle around the world.”
“Our home in Binyamin is the home of the entire Jewish people, and we pray that the merit of the light that you are spreading in the world will help to bring thousands of immigrants who will make their homes in Israel, and in Binyamin in particular.”
Rabbi Shlomo Wilhelm, the director of Chabad-Zhitomir and chief rabbi of western Ukraine, thanked the Binyamin Regional Council for the warm hospitality: “Your hospitality and the warm heart of the Binyamin Regional Council and its governor are very touching and encouraging to all of us here.”
“The most important prayer for the Jewish People, after the Shema, is the amida prayer of silent devotion, and all the elements of that prayer are learned from Hannah’s prayer. Her heart yearned for a child. She prayed here, and we too can offer up a sincere prayer here, for the success of all Diaspora Jewry and for the Redemption of the entire Jewish people.”
In the past few weeks Binyamin Regional Council representatives have been working on plans to integrate the immigrant families and are in constant contact with the Chabad-Ukraine emissaries and the association of Jewish communities in the former Soviet Union states, which is doing all it can to help the emissaries and the Ukrainian refugees.