A Sweet New Year: Rosh Hashanah Reflections from Ukraine

Rosh Hashanah is a new beginning. In this spirit, we bring you these Rosh Hashanah reflections from JDC clients and volunteers across Ukraine.

By the JDC community | September 3, 2021

Two volunteers at the JDC-supported Hesed Shaarey Tzion in Odessa, Ukraine, prepare Rosh Hashanah food sets for elderly clients.

Rosh Hashanah is a new beginning and a time to reflect on the past year. In this spirit, JDC clients and volunteers from across Ukraine talk about what makes Rosh Hashanah such a meaningful holiday, as well as their hopes for the future.

Anna Yatvetskaya

When I think of Rosh Hashanah, I remember my childhood. My mother always cooked gefilte fish and baked these enormous cakes. It was so delicious. We were always so excited for the holiday because we always got such a delicious meal. — Raisa Shpanel, 77, JDC client, Cherkassy

Rosh Hashanah is meant to be sweet. That’s why I want all of our clients and volunteers to be together again, in person, at Hesed programs, where they can enjoy each other’s company. Thanks to JDC, we have so much to offer to them, and I can’t wait for this moment to come. — Iryna Verveda, volunteer coordinator at JDC-supported Hesed Shaarey Tzion social welfare center, Odessa

Rosh Hashanah is a wonderful time to reflect on the past year. Despite the pandemic, for me it was a time of new opportunities. At the JCC, we launched new global projects that reached new people in the Jewish community. And these projects are thriving even in the face of such a challenging year. — Marina London, director of Jewish programs at the Beit Grand Jewish Cultural Center (JCC), Odessa

On Rosh Hashanah, we always wish each other a sweet new year. But I want this year to also be joyful, warm, and safe for everyone. — Anna Yatvetskaya, head of the regional development department, JDC Odessa office

This year, I want all of our clients and volunteers to be together again, in person, where they can enjoy each other’s company.

For me, Rosh Hashanah is all about our clients at Hesed, people whom I’ve had the pleasure of knowing as a volunteer. We share so much joy together, and that’s why I’m proud to work at Hesed Shaarey Tzion. — Larisa Georgiyeva, volunteer at Hesed Shaarey Tzion, Odessa

On Rosh Hashanah, we say, “Have a sweet new year.” I want this year to be happy and healthy, full of joy and connection with one’s children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and friends. — Eugenia Stoicheva, 84, JDC client, Odessa

In addition to a sweet new year, my wish for Rosh Hashanah is to have in-person communication again, meeting old friends and finding new ones. Shanah Tovah! — Katerina Pavlishcheva, volunteer, Mykolayiv

On Rosh Hashanah, it’s customary to wish each other a sweet new year. But I’d also like this new year to be happy for each of us. I want to strengthen the bonds between teens and elderly people. I want us to support each other and just be healthy. — Lera Samoshina, Active Jewish Teens (AJT) coordinator, Mykolayiv

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