Sunday September 23 Sukkot the Feast of Tabernacles begins. Sukkot is a Biblical feast that lasts for a week, in which the Jewish people remember how, after the exodus from Egypt, they travelled for forty years through the desert, without a roof over their heads.
Anyone who has ever been to Israel in that period will probably remember: everywhere in the streets you see small sukkahs. On the balconies of apartment buildings, near the synagogues, in gardens and parks .
It is a special time in which the Lord wants to remind His people to leave the familiar environment and to commemorate the exodus from Egypt. It is also a celebration in which people show hospitality to others by inviting them to have a snack and a drink in the sukkah.
In Ukraine the Jewish people will also build some sukkahs here and there, as with synagogues and Jewish schools (see photos). Here too, young and old will commemorate the long journey through the desert, on the way to the promised land.
The book of Zechariah, chapter 14, also writes about Sukkot – the Feast of Tabernacles. In verse 16 it is written that the Gentile nations will each year go to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, and that they will bow down before the King, the Lord.
But for the many Jewish families in Ukraine who will soon leave for Israel for good, this feast will have a personal and special meaning: leaving behind your familiar environment where you were born and raised, to make the big journey indefinite with just a few personal belongings, to the Promised Land.
During the period of Sukkot – the Feast of Tabernacles, we will travel here in Ukraine, with a group from the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, to pack and distribute food parcels, especially for the poor Jewish population. We do this at the request of the mostly small Jewish communities. We will of course also sit in a sukkah here and there, for a social gathering!
Jews in Eastern Ukraine are having a hard time.
We have already started distributing 300 food parcels in eastern Ukraine. Next week we will pack and distribute another 1,500 food parcels. All products have already been delivered and are now neatly stacked (see photos). We have received an extra storage space from the local Baptist church.
Thousands of Jewish families have already left the war zone in eastern Ukraine in the last few years, and most of them went to Israel. However there are people – especially the elderly – who stay behind. We received the request to distribute 500 food parcels especially for them during the Feast of Tabernacles, in co-operation with the Jewish community.
To support Christians for Israel with their Ukrainian food programme,
Written by Koen Carlier who is Aliyah field worker for Christians for Israel working in Ukraine. Together with his dedicated team and many volunteers he supports the Jewish community in Ukraine.
In cooperation with the Jewish Agency for Israel they help in a practical way by offering free transportation and the necessary documents when they have decided to go to Israel (make Aliyah).
The team also distributes thousands of food parcels each year to the needy, many of them Holocaust survivors.
He lives in the Ukraine with his wife and family.