This Wednesday, March 16, we are joining with many organizations to encourage Jews everywhere to join together in the spirit of the Fast of Esther by demonstrating solidarity with the people of Ukraine. One of the many ways you might do this is by fasting.
Esther's call to the Jewish people to fast in the face of the threat of annihilation echoes through the generations to this moment. Her instructions remind us that in order to make a change in the world, we must look inward, as well as outward. Fasting has the potential to align our bodies, our minds, and our spirits with the deep pain present in the world. It can awaken our souls to the role we might play in providing comfort and healing for ourselves and for others. It can allow an opportunity to respond to the crisis in Ukraine not just financially, but viscerally. Fasting can emphasize the importance of the current situation and foster a connection to those who are suffering.
You can take advantage of this opportunity for unity in three ways:
✓ FAST. Show your solidarity with the Ukrainian people
✓ DONATE. Help provide lifesaving resources to refugees
✓ SHARE. Let friends and family know about #FastForUkraine
If you would like to make a humanitarian donation for Ukraine, you can do so through the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ), Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), and Hillel International Emergency Relief Fund.
Some may not be able to (or should not) fast, while others may not have money to donate. You can still help spread the word about the #FastForUkraine by sharing information on your social media accounts and encouraging your friends and family to do the same. You can also use the hashtag #FastForUkraine in your posts to help boost awareness in the days leading up to the Fast of Esther.
By taking at least one of the three actions above to support the people of Ukraine on March 16, we all have a chance to tap into the courage of Queen Esther and show our solidarity with the people of Ukraine in the way, or ways, that work best for us. In the words of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, "…be sure that every little deed counts, that every word has power, and that we do…our share to redeem the world."
Excerpted from a message by Rabbi Benjamin Berger, VP for Jewish Education and Experience, Hillel.