Havdalah and Healing Service in prayer for Ukraine

I once gave a Yom Kippur sermon at Temple Beth El, noting that there are some ultra-Orthodox communities where rabbi cards are traded like baseball counterparts, and that if I had such cards, I’d want those of my two favorite Rabbis – Reb Nachman of Breslov and my father, Rabbi Alexander, Schindler. Temple Beth El’s brotherhood followed up by making Beth El clergy cards modelled on baseball cards.  I was touched. 

I love Reb Nachman of Breslav because even though he knew the deep darkness of depression and the harshness of life’s circumstances, he left a healing legacy of wisdom filled with light. He invented the niggun – the wordless melody that expresses what language cannot.  

In 1810, when a fire broke out in Breslav, destroying his home, he was invited by Enlightenment inspired Jews of Uman to move there.  As he visited, he said, “this is a good place to be buried” for in the Uman cemetery were buried some 2,000 Jewish martyrs of a 1768 Massacre of Uman. Reb Nachman died young, at the age of 38, but that cemetery is holy and the site his grave remains one of pilgrimage. Tens of thousands flock there annually on Rosh Hashanah.  

At this moment, the synagogue of Uman is a bunker where all, Jew and non-Jew, are invited to take shelter.  Reb Nachman saw the holiness and heroism of martrydom.  As we admire the resolve and resilience of Reb Nachman buried in Ukraine, we admire the resolve and resilience of our Ukranian neighbors there today — their families, their soldiers, their citizens and their leaders. We pray for their strength.  May the soul of Reb Nachman speak to them as it speaks to us through his words inspiring faith. Reb Nachman taught, “Kol ha’olam kulo gesher tzar me’od, the whole world is a very narrow bridge, v’haikar lo l’fached klal, and the most important thing is not to be afraid. 

Join us for a havdalah serivce where the wisdom of Reb Nachman will inspire our prayers for healing.

Join us for a havdalah and healing service focused on Ukraine click here.

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