The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, met with American Jewish leaders in Washington, DC today.
Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Executive Vice President of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad) blew the Shofar for the attendees, as is customary in the month of Elul. Also participating in the meeting were William Daroff, CEO of the Conference of Presidents, Mark Levin and Lesley Weiss of NCSEJ, Jason Isaacson of American Jewish Committee, Richard and Phyllis Heideman of the March of the Living and Israel Forever Foundation, USHMM Director Sara Bloomfield, United States Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues Ellen Germain, Charles Kaufman, President of Bnai Brith International, and several other government and Jewish communal officials. In attendance from Ukraine were Rabbi Meir Stambler, Chairman of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Ukraine, as well as Rabbi Rafael Rutman, Vice Chairman.
President Zelensky addressed participants, and spoke about his Jewish heritage, noting his being the first Jewish President of Ukraine, his and his family’s struggles with, and government’s fight against anti-Semitism in his country, and about the disease of hatred which must be combatted. He also strenuously protested and called for an end to the Russian occupation of the Donbas region and Crimea.
Afterward, he met briefly with the Jewish leaders, and personally invited them to come to Ukraine for the special ceremonies marking the 80th Anniversary of Babyn Yar.