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Polish leader at Hanukkah thanks Jews for aiding Ukrainians



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WARSAW, Poland — The President of Poland presided over a Hanukkah ceremony on Monday where he honored Jewish communities in Poland and around the world for the help they have given to refugees. Ukraine this year.

Poland borders Ukraine to the west and has accepted millions of refugees, many of whom have died chosen to stay. The Jewish community in Poland actively organized housing, food, education and other forms of assistance for them.

President Andrzej Duda said that as “the owner of this land,” he is grateful to the Jewish community for what they have done.

“Thank you so much for welcoming our guests, new arrivals from Ukraine, to your community, to your homes, to your prayers,” Duda said. with those gathered at the presidential palace in Warsaw.

He noted that the Jewish community helped both Ukrainian Jews and non-Jews.

Hanukkah, the festival of lights, celebrates light overcoming darkness, powerful symbol of when Ukrainians suffer in the dark and cold amid Russia’s continued attacks on their electrical infrastructure.

Poland’s chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, said it was a time “to remember those without light.”

“We pray that next year, the next Hanukkah, there will also be light in Ukraine.”

Poland was once home to a Jewish community of more than 3.3 million people. Most were murdered by German forces that invaded and occupied Poland during World War II.

“We know what it’s like to be a refugee, we know what it’s like to run from death,” Schudrich told The Associated Press ahead of the candlelight event.

Today, Poland’s Jewish community is growing but still small. Its refugee-help efforts have been funded from abroad, particularly from the Jewish Federation of North America, an umbrella group that has raised more than $84 million to help vulnerable Ukrainians. damaged by war.

The organization’s president, Eric Fingerhut, told the AP that the symbol of light shining through the darkness now pertains to Ukraine due to the “deliberate effort of the Russians and their military operation to remove the light from the darkness.” , energy and darkening the country.”

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