Reflecting on Ukraine

In his photographic experience of the War in Ukraine, Lazar notes that he experienced “the full spectrum of human emotion—heartbreaking, bewildering, inspiring, and infuriating. Such is war.”

He describes the early days of the war: “Fleeing civilians crowded on to trains, slept on station floors, and had walked for hours-sometimes days-in their attempt to escape the Russians.”

As the war continued, so did the stories. One story tells of a Holocaust survivor whose husband died of a broken heart as he realized that two nations, formerly united against the Nazis, are now in a war against each other. Elvira Bortz, now 87, says, “It’s crazy especially going through the other war when Russia and Ukraine were fighting together. I can’t imagine this, it’s just like an older brother attacking the younger brother, like the biblical story of Cain and Abel.”

Nearing the conclusion of his article Berman gives a glimmer of hope, a look to the future. He shows a newly married couple, dressed in their fatigues, happy in their newlywed state. Viktor, a Dnipro-born IDF Tanker who returned to Ukraine to fight in a unit made up of mostly IDF veterans.

His fiancée Giulia, an Italian Jewish pilot cadet, joined his unit. Months later, with their unit reduced due to suffering significant casualties, Viktor and Giulia, looked to their future as they look to start a Ukrainian charity named Cloud Walker.

I encourage you to look at his account of covering the Ukraine War. His pictures, along with his writing, will give you a sense of the intense emotions war can bring, including hope. As he concludes, “Much has been lost, and the country will never be the same. Towns have been destroyed, lives extinguished, families driven to distant lands. But it will also look to the future. The strength of the Ukrainian people has been revealed.”

The Friends of Israel has been actively involved in assisting Ukrainian refugees with non-stop aid, including assisting with transportation, needed supplies, hope, encouragement, and assisting Jewish people to go to Israel. You can give right now to our Eastern European Relief Fund.

We are giving aid and comfort to the Jewish people just as we did in our early days in 1938.

(Source: The Times of Israel, Lazar Berman)