Rabbi Meir Holtzberg is the director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Bila Tserkva, a city 50 miles south of Kyiv. He was outside of the country when Russia first invaded but has since returned to visit Jewish communities and ensure that they were able to celebrate the festival of Purim. “It shows me that the Jewish people lives, that the Jews of Ukraine have, and will have, a flourishing Jewish life, and that there will be a future for Ukrainian Jewry,” he said.
He is not the only rabbi to have headed back to Ukraine. Many religious leaders, mostly from Chabad, have arrived to mark the holiday. Chabad estimates that more than two dozen of its rabbis led Purim festivities across Ukraine and celebrated a story of Jewish survival against attempted extermination.