By COLlive reporter
Rabbi Menachem Kurzweil, who has served with his wife Daliah and children for many years as Chabad Shluchim in Dnepr, Ukraine, have escaped with their family this week from the destruction in their hometown after the Russian attacks.
After tense days of worry, and dealing with paperwork and planning, the family has left their entire life behind, fleeing to the Moldovan border and then traveling to Iasi, Romania, where they were awaiting a flight to Israel. The family is physically and emotionally exhausted from the ordeal and the 3 days of difficult travel, and Rabbi Kurzweil said he has been mentally preparing himself to start over again in another country.
All the family wanted to do was get on the plane and settle in Israel. But then, abruptly, their plans changed.
Today, in a video message from Iasi, Romania, Rabbi Kurzweil said that he recalls a saying, that “Shlichus is a lifetime commitment.”
“Today, as the entire Ukraine is being destroyed, 30 years of work, flourishing communities of many Jews who have here discovered and have become proud of their Jewish heritage, are now being scattered,” he said.
“Many are telling me, come to Israel. This is a sign from G-d that it is time to move there already, and there are many opportunities for us there,” he said.
Kurzweil said he had finally come to terms with it, and they have been heading to Israel to rebuild their lives.
Today, he said, he received a phone call from his brother-in-law, Rabbi Akiva Camissar, a Chabad Rabbi in Amsterdam.
“If I drop a ‘bomb’ of a suggestion on you, can you deal with it?” Rabbi Camissar asked him.
“A large group of Jewish refugees from Ukraine are moving to our neighborhood in Amsterdam,” Camissar said. “And I have been wracking my brain, as to who will help them, and lead them? Who will deal with them logistically? Who will be able to give them love and a personal connection – who speaks their language?”
“I understand the hardships you are going through now, the difficulty of uprooting your entire life,” Camisar continued. “Would you consider taking on this position?”
And that’s when Kurzweil said he recalled the words, “Shlichus is a lifetime commitment.”
He said he quickly conferred with his wife and children about the suggestion. It meant changing their plans which they have been working on for the past few days, and to head to a new and unfamiliar place to assist hundreds of refugees just like themselves.
“My family all enthusiastically, on the spot, agreed to go and fulfill this new Shlichus,” he said.
“We pray that with Hashem’s help all these negative experiences from the past will disappear, and together we will rejoice and flourish in our new location,” Kurzweil said.
“Thanks to all those in Israel who have been waiting for our arrival, and all those who have been supporting us financially and have been worrying and caring for us during this plight. Please continue to open your hearts to the refugees which we are heading out to care for,” he concluded.
Help the Kurzweil family as they begin their new life and new Shlichus: Click here to Donate Now.