NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – On Monday, six people from the Nashville Jewish community came together to help bring relief to Ukrainian refugees.
The group was comprised of members of the Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. They will fly to Poland to aid refugees in Krakow and Warsaw to help primarily women and children in need.
Currently, the Jewish Community Center in Krakow is running low on supplies after helping take care of more than 100,000 refugees.
“Like so many Americans we were horrified to see the images of what’s happening in Ukraine and we couldn’t help but want to do whatever we could to help. And then through the inspiration of one of our local Rabbis, Rabbi Kullock, we started the conversations about not only sending things but perhaps sending people to actually do work on the ground,” said Deborah Oleshansky, Community Relations Director for the Jewish Federation of Nashville.
The group departed from BNA Monday morning and plans to return Sunday.
“It’s even hard to fathom that in the midst of the 21st century we still see people fighting wars, destroying cities. We don’t know exactly why or what for. So again, when you see those images, there is something, it’s like your spirit pushes you to do something about it,” West End Synagogue Rabbi Joshua Kullock said.
Nashville’s Jewish community donated nearly 1,000 pounds of supplies for the trip, along with roughly $20,000. The donations included stuffed animals, which were one of the needs of the refugee children.
Oleshansky said unfortunately the persecution Ukrainians currently face is all too familiar to the Jewish faith.
“We have people who were in concentration camps during World War II, who somehow managed to survive that experience, and now in their closing days are refugees again from another war,” Oleshansky said.
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But through their faith, they hope to shed a light for refugees in these dark days.
“The way of being in the world is by helping, by reaching out, by forging relationships so that there is less and less folks willing to hate just for the sake of hatred,” Rabbi Kullock said.
The Jewish Federation said they were appreciative of Delta Airlines for helping them check 20 bags worth of donations. The group also credited Nisolo Shoes, Able Clothing, Friedman’s, and the Kindergarten Religious School at West End Synagogue for donating to their refugee efforts.