The past several days have become a nightmare for Ukranians all over the country. Some are fleeing, others are hiding in bomb shelters and everyone is doing their best to stay calm amidst all the chaos, destruction and terror.
One synagogue in the famous city of Uman, the home of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov’s tomb is emerging as a light in all the darkness. They are opening their doors for all locals looking for shelter.
They are currently using their mikvah, or ritual bathhouse, as a bomb shelter. The wooden benches underground are now packed with mattresses, blankets and warm drinks. Jews all across the spectrum and non-Jews are welcome.
“It’s safe to be here, that’s why I am here,” said Dasha Borscht, 16, a non-Jewish resident taking refuge in the basement.
The Jewish community has gone from 600 members to less than 60 now since the attacks have begun in the country. Those who have stayed are doing so solely holding based on emunah, or faith.
“I didn’t go to Bulgaria, because I believe Rabbi Nachman cares about us, and nobody can do something that God doesn’t want,” said Shula, a worshipper at the synagogue who was born in Israel but has lived in Uman for 21 years. “Putin will not come here, and the soldiers will not come here.”
Uman is known for being a haven for Jews on Rosh Hashanah. Tens of thousands of devoted worshippers flock to the city to visit Rabbi Nachman’s kever (grave) every year.
Now, the city is deserted. Many shops are closed and the Ukranian soldiers are guarding the area.
When things seem so bleak, it’s reassuring to know there is still always light to both create and find. For more on this, visit cnn.com.