A very illuminating story on Jewish reaction to almost revolutionary events at Euromaidan in Kyiv, Ukraine has been presented in “Ukraine’s Unfinished Revolution Sparks Hope for Jews — Not Fear” at
The two completely opposite points of view – both by Jewish people – are offered.
One point of view is of young generation of Jews who are backing and actively participating in the fight for freedom of the country they live in. Those young Jews consider Ukraine their own country. They want to be Jewish in this country and they want to help this country to build a better world for everybody including themselves.
The other point of view is of Jewish religious establishment which wants for the Jews in diaspora to be isolated from the life of a country they live in, to be involved only in in the “Jewish affairs” whatever the establishment believes the affairs should be.
The point of view of young generation of Jews is presented at Euromaidan by Ukrainian Jewish girl talking into the camera, live from Kiev’s Independence Square:
“I want to let you know that lots of people who study Hebrew together with me are going to Euromaidan after classes every single day,” she said, referring to the protest movement that camped out for months on the square prior to its success in ousting the country’s president and his government on February 22. “My friends, my coworkers from the Jewish Channel go to the Maidan too… Here, at Euromaidan, it doesn’t matter which nationality you are.”
The other, Jewish-establishment point of view is presented by Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman, one of the country’s several chief rabbis, who was calling on Kiev’s Jews to flee:
“I told my congregation to leave the city center or the city altogether and if possible the country too … I don’t want to tempt fate … but there are constant warnings concerning intentions to attack Jewish institutions.”
In my view, and I have been written extensively on the topic, the young Jews of Kyiv are right since they are following Torah guidance for the Jews as the Chosen to help building a better world everywhere where Jews live – in Israel and in Diaspora. I am not saying that the Jewish religious establishment doesn’t follow the Torah. What I am suggesting is the establishment follows just ritual, in-house narrow parts of the Torah guidance. They justify their approach by the fear of anti-Semitism. They believe that the harm of anti-Semitism may be avoided if the Jews would be invisible. But that is not the case.
There are spiritual anti-Semites, and they are eternal anti-Semites – nothing could change their attitude toward Jews. Fortunately for us, they are in Gentile’s minority. The majority of Gentiles may not like the Jews since they wrongly believe the Jewish economic success is due to “robbing spiritually and economically” the gentiles. The only way to change their mind is to demonstrate by real actions that the Jews in a Gentile’s country are working and fighting together with the Gentiles to create a “better world” in their country – a better world for everybody, and this better world is based on Torah-based guidance for national and individual freedoms with equal opportunities for everybody.
And the actions of young Jews at Euromaidan in Kyiv are doing precisely that – they are demonstrating that the Jews want to build a better Ukrainian world together with the entire county, that the Jews are not separating themselves from the Ukrainians.