Bernard-Henri Levy, the internationally acclaimed Jewish philosopher, writer, and businessman, paid a visit to the Jewish community in Odesa, Ukraine, where he toured FJC’s Jewish orphanage “Mishpacha” and met the city’s Chief Rabbi Avraham Wolff.
Based on an article by COLlive reporter
The French philosopher was warmly received by Rabbi Avraham Wolff, Chief Rabbi and Head Shliach of Odessa, who shared the challenging efforts involved in raising 120 orphaned children amidst the turmoil.
Levy is now involved in a special film about the Jewish communities of Ukraine and their struggle during the crisis.
Accompanying Levy during the visit was Igor Shadkhan, Chairman of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Southern Ukraine. Levy was moved to tears upon hearing the dramatic rescue journey through Germany during the crisis and their subsequent return to their warm home in Odessa in recent months.
The conversation lasted for hours, during which Levy was exposed to the dedicated activities of the Jewish community, particularly the significant impact on the lives of young children, under the leadership of Rabbi Wolff and his wife Chaya Wolff.
At one point in the visit, Rabbi Wolff offered Levy to put on Tefillin.
“I cannot recall the last time I put on tefillin,” the philosopher responded. “But I’ll do it now as a prayer for peace among the Jewish people and for peace in Ukraine.”
This past Friday night, Levy celebrated Shabbat and shared the following on social media:
“Last night. Shabbat in a small synagogue, somewhere in #Ukraine. Jewish spirit in times of darkness. Sense of eternity when world, all around, is out of joint.”