The Jewish community of Kharkov, Ukraine welcomed unusual guests for Shabbat last week in what turned out to be a unifying and moving experience. A group of young Israeli soccer players from Bnei Eilat soccer club attended a sports camp in Kharkov for ten days, and on Friday night they came to the city’s synagogue to relax and get a taste of home.
“After a long week of intensive training, being far away from home, the boys were excited to experience Shabbat and the warmth of Kharkov’s Jewish community,” said Rabbi Moshe Moscovitz, Kharkov’s chief rabbi. “They spent the day with us, singing, eating and enjoying the special relaxing atmosphere of the day.”
The visit gave both the community members and the guests a feeling that Jews really are one family, regardless of what languages they speak and where they come from, rabbi Moscovitz added.
This is the second year the team from Eilat participates in Kharkov’s international soccer camp initiative.