Last week, world leaders gathered in Yerushalayim to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, and, while I didn’t zoom in on the political machinations that governed who went where, I was pleased to see in Hamodia that Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelinskiy chose to go the Kosel, not to the official ceremonies. (Zelinskiy is Jewish.)
The recent round of tensions between Ukraine and Russia can not be dismissed, of course. So, I’m fairly sure that Zelinskiy’s decision was based on political as well as ruchniyusdig reasons.
But I saw an expression on the president’s face when he was at the Kosel, and it was one of connection to his Yiddishkeit. It’s as if he can “be himself” when he’s there.
I’m not denying that important messages were conveyed at the official ceremony. But I like Zelinskiy’s choice better. The messages in recent weeks in Hamodia have been that if we Jews would “be ourselves” more — that is, be true to our real selves — that would be the most positive thing we could do.
Malka Pomerantz, Brooklyn, N.Y.