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“I felt like I was playing for them”

editor - 28 March 2018

Take the love, prayers and hard work of six Dutch, four Germans, one British and one Belgian; enrich it with God’s eternal promises to His people, let it sit for a few days; then pour it out over God’s very own in Ukraine.

No two working trips to Ukraine are ever the same. These trips were initiated by Koen Carlier, Christians for Israel’s national coordinator for Ukraine years ago, to let sponsors taste and see the incredible impact of our help on the Jewish communities there. The most recent group just got back on the plane March 24, 2018.

“I could see the executed victims before me as I was playing my recorder over the ravine of Babi Yar; I felt like I was playing for them,” said Hans from Holland as the group slowly walked away from the place where 33,771 Jewish mothers, children and elderly were murdered outside Kiev on September 29 and 30, 1941, after Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union. Crying quietly, German-born Dagmar placed a white rose at the menorah-shaped memorial marking the site.

German-born Dagmar places a white rose at the Babi Yar memorial in Kiev

More tears were cried as the group heard the stories of Rita who survived the Pechora death camp, losing both her mother and father there as a 5-year-old within the first week, but promising God she would dedicate her life to telling her story if she would  survive the ordeal. Or of Olga, then a 2-year-old, who was pulled out of the pit of dead bodies by two little boys who survived the shooting in Talnoye, and carried into safety by a Ukrainian woman who had come to the forest to pick mushrooms.

Rita Shveybysh tells her incredible survival story outside the fence of the Pechora death camp

But what participants found most overwhelming – in between packing and delivering 1,500 food parcels – was the warmth, the hospitality and the incredible kindness displayed by those very survivors as they sat around the table with us. As if it came natural that survivor Alexander would say “I harbour no bitterness against the Germans in my heart.” These were the moments when the group ran out of words, hugging the survivors, praying healing into their lives, one precious Jewish heart at a time.

“The prophets longed to see what you see”, said Rabbi Yeshua some 2,000 years ago to his friends. What a privilege to be the “feet of those who bring good news” to the broken, to remind them that the God of Avraham, Yitzhak and Ya’akov has not forgotten them.

And while the participants return to their home countries, Koen and his team get back to work – a group of Jewish people are waiting in a remote town with their bags packed to end 2,000 years of Diaspora and return to their historic homeland, to fulfil the annual Passover blessing: “Next year in Jerusalem!”


Ready to go – 1,500 food parcels waiting to be delivered

Watch the other photos below!

The food parcels are regularly distributed among Holocaust survivors, poor families, Jewish refugees, children and the sick. A food parcel is more than a bag of food. It’s a sign of your friendship and your support, a testimony to our Jewish brothers and sisters that they are not alone.

Will you help?
The cost of one food parcel is 10 euros or 11 US $. For this amount we buy wholesale products. The parcels are packed by volunteers and distributed throughout Ukraine. Will you help with one or more food parcels? Your support is desperately needed!

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Remains of the Jewish Shtetl in Shargorod


Dilapidated Shargorod synagogue from the 16th century


Warm reception by holocaust survivors in Uman


Unloading food parcels in Tulchin



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