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Opening Our Home to Ukrainian Refugees

More than a century after my own great-grandfather left Odessa for America, a family from Kharkiv found refuge in our house in New York.
Courtesy Rachel Jacoby Rosenfield
Courtesy Rachel Jacoby Rosenfield
Rachel Jacoby Rosenfield is the Chief Executive Officer at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, where she leads the staff, shapes the vision, strategy, and growth, develops the culture, and oversees programs and operations. She previously served as Executive Vice President for 8 years. Rachel has served in the field of Jewish education and social justice for more than two decades as an entrepreneur, executive leader and educator. Previously, Rachel was Director of Experiential

“I have a black-and-white photograph of a man in his 20s: dark wavy hair, mustached, staring grimly at the camera. On the back, the name of the studio in Odessa where it was taken. It is my great-grandfather Morris Verechovsky. He came to America shortly after the photo was taken, changed his name to Morris White, and married my great-grandmother Sarah, whom I knew when I was a young child. I don’t know much more about Morris. Nevertheless, when a fellowship program for Jewish professionals brought me to Odessa in 2008, I asked my Ukrainian colleague Alina to take me to the address on the back of the photo. I felt I was reaching into the past as I stood in the doorway my great-grandfather had once crossed, if only to have his photograph taken, trying to understand something about his story and therefore my own. Fourteen years later, I read the news in horror as people fled for their lives after Russia invaded Ukraine.”

Read the full essay in Tablet

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