Members of Jewish community gather to pray for peace in Ukraine

“We believe God is listening and God gets involved in human events and points us where they have to go,” said Rabbi Yochanan Posner.

SHARE Members of Jewish community gather to pray for peace in Ukraine
Around 200 people of the Jewish faith from all over the Chicagoland area gather and pray for peace in Ukraine on Monday at a Holiday Inn conference room in Skokie.

Around 200 people of the Jewish faith from all over the Chicagoland area gather and pray for peace in Ukraine on Monday at a Holiday Inn conference room in Skokie.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

More than 200 members of Chicagoland’s Jewish community gathered Monday night to pray for peace in Ukraine and raise money for humanitarian efforts.

“We know we can’t change how a war goes in a practical sense, but we can change things in a spiritual sense,” said Rabbi Yochanan Posner, who helped organize the gathering at a hotel ballroom in Skokie.

“We believe God is listening and gets involved in human events,” said Posner, who is part of Lubavitch Chabad, an international Jewish organization that is represented in 35 cities across Ukraine.

Rabbi Levi Notik estimates there were about 350,000 Jews in Ukraine before Russia invaded Ukraine.

That number is harder to assess as thousands have fled along with other Ukrainians to avoid the carnage of Russian troops and bombs.

Mushka Gurevitz, 30, is a high school teacher who lives in Chicago. But her father, Rabbi Pinchas Vishedsky, just days ago fled Ukraine to a neighboring country where he is currently doing whatever he can to assist refugees with food, shelter and transportation.

“Sometimes he simply offers a good word, a hug, a prayer, a hope,” she said.

A chorus of prayers that were beamed onto projector screens were offered up Monday night.

When asked what specific action he was praying for that would bring peace to Ukraine, Posner deferred.

“I feel like I don’t need to tell God how to do his job. I need to let God know that we need action. There has to be a change. And he’ll figure out the best way to make it best for everybody,” said Posner, who has cousins who fled bombing in Kyiv.

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