On Sunday 3 April more than fifty members of Edgware and Hendon Reform Synagogue, from eight years of age to members well into their eighties completed a sponsored walk from the Synagogue in Stonegrove, Edgware.
Led by Rabbis Mark Goldsmith and Debbie Young-Somers, the walk was in aid of World Jewish Relief’s and the World Union for Progressive Judaism’s humanitarian and community supporting appeals for the people of Ukraine. Young people on the walk had made banners showing the synagogue’s support for the Ukrainian people and the walkers were tooted in support by many people driving by!
When the walk paused at the half way mark the walkers heard live from Rabbi Tanya Sakhnovitch, in Warsaw, supporting Ukrainian refugees who have made it to the Ec Chayim Reform Synagogue in the city. Rabbi Tanya, Rabbi of the Liberal Synagogue Elstree, told us of how she and her family had escaped from Kyiv to Poland in the early days of the conflict and of the refugees that she was encountering and the efforts to help them.
The walkers returned to EHRS to enjoy Ukrainian foods made by members of the congregation and to celebrate that this walk had raised more than £1000 for the WJR and WUPJ appeals in cash on the day and much more in direct donations made by members.
Rabbi Mark Goldsmith said: “Ever since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, there has been a sense of helplessness that there is so little we can do from London to make a difference. That is why our event, ‘Walk an Hour in their Shoes’ felt so powerful. It followed a Shabbat service where we were joined by Rabbi Alex Dukhovny from the basement where he was sheltering in Kyiv and our sharing through social and other media the fearsome experiences of Rabbi Julia Gris the Rabbi of our twin community in Odessa, who had to walk 50km with her daughter to make it to the Polish border as well as Rabbi Tanya herself as she escaped from the invaders. As Jews we know the pain of displacement from our previous generations and our hearts and prayers are with all the people of Ukraine.”