Despite and in spite of Purim falling out on March 16th – the date of the controversial referendum in Crimea the Jews in Kharkov came to celebrate the Festival of Victory of Light over Darkness –Purim- in the Kharkov Circus.
After weeks of turbulence and demonstrations in Kharkov , the tension reached its peak on Sunday as Ukraine anxiously awaited the effects of the referendum.
But they came. Not in the tens and hundreds …but two thousand proud Jews who wanted to put aside their fears and worries and to join in pride and celebrate . And celebrate they did!
With the acrobats , monkeys and bears performing to Jewish songs , the Megilla (Purim story) being read in Hawaiian style and every participant receiving Mishloach Manot (traditional Purim gift of food) – the power of the Jewish spirit despite all odds was clear to all.
The head of religion in the State of Kharkov, was moved to tears as she addressed the euphoric crowd “We have to learn from the power of strength of the Jewish people to stand together even in hard times”
Rabbi Moishe Moskovitz, Chief Rabbi of Kharkov said a prayer for safety and peace in Kharkov and the whole Ukraine. He encouraged the community that the best way to help the instability in the country is by adding light – good deeds and caring for each other. Visibly impressed at the large turnout , the Rabbi said that “your being here today , is a sign that the Jewish people is alive and well and our heritage will keep us going no matter where we are and no matter what is happening around us”