World Union distributes Russian-language Plaut Chumashim to displaced Ukrainian Jews worldwide

The World Union for Progressive Judaism distributed Plaut Chumashim in Russian to displaced Ukrainian Jews around the world so they could continue to study and pray.

For more than 30 years, WUPJ has supported communities in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus by translating many of Judaism’s sacred texts into Russian – texts that were abandoned when people had to flee their homes and communities.

Andrew Keene and Rabbi Stas Wojciechowicz arrive at Warsaw Chopin Airport with the chumashim

Washington, DC-based WUPJ management committee member Andrew Keene led efforts to get up to 500 new Chumashim into the hands of WUPJ communities and rabbis who work with Ukrainian refugees. This included personally delivering copies to Rabbi Alex Dukhovny in Haifa and Rabbi Stas Wojciechowicz in Warsaw.

The beautifully bound Chumashim contain a Russian translation of the Torah and a commentary by Rabbi W Gunther Plaut.

Andrew said: “Our progressive Jewish communities in Europe and Israel are on the front lines of resettling refugees from war-torn Ukraine. They not only connect Jewish refugees to community, social services and relief, but also to Judaism through worship and study. This is why we were so keen to send copies of this masterfully translated text to communities around the world.

Rabbi Alexander Dukhovny and Andrew Keene

“It was particularly important to deliver the first copies to Rabbi Dukhovny in Haifa – who for many years was the chief rabbi of progressive Jewish communities in Ukraine – for his use with Ukrainian refugees and olim (immigrants).”

Rabbi Igor Zinkov of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in London, who is co-chairman of the WUPJ’s Ukrainian crisis committee, grew up in Russia and has family and friends in Russia and Ukraine.

He stressed the importance of providing Jews with the Torah in their own language, saying, “Historically, the Torah has been a uniting factor for Jews around the world. It represents the Jewish people, our wisdom and our constant search for meaning and a sense of belonging. It is also essential for the development and growth of what we progressive Jews believe in.

“It is comforting to know that even during the current crisis, the Torah serves its purpose and continues to nurture and support all those fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Sylvester L. Goldfarb