Our thoughts and prayers are with the hundreds of thousands of Jews in Ukraine, who are living through a situation the likes of which we had thought belonged to history.

Ukraine has a rich, vast Jewish history. All of the cities currently in the news have old, storied Jewish communities.

There are truly wonderful people there, and the tremendous growth of Jewish life in Ukraine since the fall of the Soviet Union is nothing short of miraculous. Thirty four Ukrainian cities have Chabad centers - many with numerous centers per city - including the largest Jewish center in the world, which my relatives run in Dnipro. It's a country bursting with Jewish life.

I had the opportunity to spend a summer in Zhitomir, celebrate Passover with the small Jewish community of Novograd and celebrate Purim with the large Jewish community of Dnipro. Along the way we visited many cities and towns such as Kiev, Fastov, Chernovitz, Niezhin, Berdichev, Haditch and others - all of which are steeped in Jewish history. It's especially disturbing to read the news when one has had the opportunity to spend time there, and get to know the people up close.

May they be blessed with peace, safety and security.

Rabbi Avrohom