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I wrote these strains as I designed my way again from acquiring used time in Poland earlier in Could.
It was a vacation loaded with shifting contrasts. For the duration of all those days, I had the opportunity the encounter the quite greatest of our human loved ones and the really worst of what we can develop into the moment we stop recognizing that just about every individual carries inside him or herself the graphic of the divine.
When we forget about that all of us have to be handled with human dignity, we, as a collective, undergo and regress.
The intent of our visit to Poland was to enable the Ukrainian refugees who uncovered solace in the neighboring place.
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‘You are not alone’
Thanks to the coordinated initiatives of the Jewish Federation and Jewish Basis of Nashville and Center Tennessee, we were being ready to accumulate around a thousand lbs of donated supplies in just a several times which we brought to the town of Krakow, precisely to the Jewish Neighborhood Heart there.
For the past two months, this fantastic organization has been delivering garments, lodging and meals to the innumerable refugees, mainly ladies with their young small children and elderly couples as nicely, who remaining their hometowns empty handed when the war broke.
Witnessing all those family members, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, finding a box of pasta, some cereal and a bag of coffee was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the very same time. And it was the very same seeing the faces of the many youngsters commonly smiling with gratitude when we gave them stuffed animals to acquire with them and bottles of bubbles to entertain themselves when they had been waiting in line.
In the midst of so significantly nonsense and discomfort, individuals times ended up deeply shifting. In all those gestures, even if neither just one of us spoke Ukrainian, we were being declaring “We treatment about you” and “You are not on your own.”
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Poland is welcoming refugees
It is really outstanding what Poland has completed to help these refugees. Ukrainians only have to have to exhibit their passports to get free of charge rides in public transportation (both equally in the cities and amongst the main Polish centers).
They can use promptly for a social stability selection that will permit them not only to lawfully work in the place but also to acquire the same universal health treatment gains that Polish citizens have. As a substitute of closing the borders in concern of an influx of men and women that they could not manage, Poland opened its doors to hundreds of thousands of refugees and welcomed them with open arms.
When Ukrainians communicate about their encounters fleeing the war, they specific their deep appreciation for what Poland has accomplished for them. They know that their neighbors have saved their lives. Practically.
It is, perhaps, due to the fact of the so many inspiring points going on in Poland ideal now that it was practically unattainable not to contrast them with what took place 80 a long time back.
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What we learned from the Holocaust
Poland was the residence of over 3 million Jews and, suitable before the Shoah (The Holocaust), Warsaw was a person the most significant Jewish cities in the entire world, second only to New York.
All that lifestyle was slash small by the Nazis and their collaborators. You can see some of the remnants of individuals awful many years when dealing with the very last standing component of the Warsaw ghetto wall, or the Krakow ghetto wall, or when you visit the many Holocaust memorials in each metropolitan areas, or when you stop by the Auschwitz concentration camp.
It is then, while going for walks via the vastness of Birkenau, that you comprehend that there are no words and phrases to categorical the horror and the tragedy, the sorrow, and the mortal outcomes of stripping individuals of their simple human dignity.
I do not know if Poland currently has discovered a lesson from its past but I know that what I saw this previous week was profoundly inspiring. What I also know is that these two contrasting images between right now and what transpired throughout the Shoah, can be understood as two various paths that each culture can acquire at any presented second.
How we can bridge our differences
We are able of listening to the far better angels of our mother nature, assisting other folks in their time of want, but we can also acquire the mistaken transform and grow to be a modern society that excludes those people who are battling, that denies the legal rights of individuals who are struggling and that criminalizes distinct teams, like gals, homeless, or immigrants to identify a number of, in our midst.
We have a say in these potential outcomes, and there are several items that we can do to form a promising foreseeable future for all. We can vote, volunteer in some of the several excellent businesses in city accomplishing holy get the job done, and talk with our elected officials as we permit them know our ideas.
We can generate bridges between distinct teams, discover from one particular a further, and reinforce our unique identities not by fostering tribalism but by embracing the type of city that is very pleased to rejoice our distinctions devoid of losing sight of what unites us as human beings.
As I flew back again residence to Nashville, my journey to Poland left me with two standard inquiries: What form of society do we want to be? And what are we heading to do to make that take place? I hope that we will find the responses that will make our city a guiding gentle and a beacon of hope for all.
Joshua Kullock is the rabbi of West Conclude Synagogue in Nashville.
This article initially appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Poland’s treatment method of Ukrainian refugees presents lesson on humanity