Ukrainian Refugees Celebrate Purim in Moldova

Purim began last night, which should mean lots of happy celebrations are taking place in Jewish communities throughout the world. But not everyone is able to celebrate because of difficult circumstances. Thousands of Jewish refugees have fled Ukraine for safer lands in the past three weeks, having to give up their traditions and ways of life just to survive in a new land. But God is raising up helpers to care for His Chosen People throughout the world.

In Kishinev, Moldova, an Eastern European country bordering Ukraine, members of a Chabad House are taking it upon themselves to aid Jewish Ukrainian refugees. They are cooking and distributing 1,000 kosher meals to these refugees every day using only a small, temporary kitchen with workers laboring around the clock, Israel Hayom reported.

Beyond providing meals, the Chabad House is helping the refugees celebrate Purim. “Our main goal isn’t to only compensate for what the refugees don’t have but to give them a good feeling and make them happy,” said Shmulik Zalmanov, Chabad emissary to Kishinev. “It is touching every single time to see the joy of the children and adults when they receive Purim baskets,” says Zalmanov. 

“We are also organizing a Purim party for the preschool children on Thursday, and maybe we’ll even manage by then to get our hands on some costumes for them,” said Rabbi Zusha Abelsky, director of the Chabad House. “Although there are kids here with almost no regular clothes, it’s still important to make them happy with costumes.” The Chabad House is also making plans for Passover to make their Jewish friends feel at home.

Jewish customs are inextricably linked to the Jewish identity. It’s difficult to imagine having to miss celebrating a major Jewish holiday, probably even more so than most people having to miss a Christmas celebration. The workers at Kishinev’s Chabad House have shown great kindness to Ukraine’s Jewish refugees by not only offering shelter and food but arranging a Purim celebration for them. May God bless their efforts to serve and care for the Jewish people.