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Odesa Orphanage's Youngest Refugee

"A little bit of light pushes away a lot of darkness." These are the words of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi as written in Tanya. I would like to introduce you to a "little bit of light." His name is Tuvia and he is the youngest refugee from the Mishpacha Orphanage of Odesa.

When Tuvia’s mother found out she was pregnant she was sure she would be unable to care for her child so she planned on having an abortion. A Rabbi offered her another option, have the child and let the Mishpacha Orphanage in Odesa care for him. She agreed. At only 4 days old the child was dropped off at the orphanage where they named him Tuvia. Only a few weeks later the war began and the entire orphanage, including Tuvia, had a harrowing evacuation to Berlin.

Now, nearly 9 month’s later, Tuvia is living with roughly 90 new brothers and sisters, and another 90 or so aunts and uncles. I do not think his feet have ever touched the ground. Anyone that holds him feels pure joy. He is the light that pushes away their darkness. In the photo I am with Tuvia and Rabbi Mende Wolff in Berlin. Tuvia is the one in the middle (in case there was any confusion).


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With its deep roots and extensive reach, the JRNU has been providing food, medicine, and other aid to more than 35,000 people each month, not turning anyone away. To further offer hope, aid, and with G-d’s help, gather more supporters, I will be spending the next week working with the JRNU in Berlin (at the temporary location for the Odesa orphanage), and in Odesa. I will share their stories and your encouragement along the way.


Unfortunately, the crisis in Ukraine is not going to end any time soon. Even after the war is over, the humanitarian needs will continue for years to come. The good news is, we can help. By coordinating our efforts we can bring continued hope and support to those in need. I hope you will join me in keeping the Detroit Jewish community engaged in these necessary relief efforts.


I welcome your comments.

For more information on the amazing work being performed by the JRNU, or to donate to the JRNU, click HERE. To donate, you can click on the Detroit Campaign for Ukraine.


To Support the Odessa Orphanage click HERE.

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