Israelis learned more about saving of Jews by Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytskyy of UGCC
More than 1,300 Israelis have taken part in the educational festival ‘Limud-2015’, held in Kibbutz Ginosar on Lake Kineret. One of the sponsors of this cultural project with a record number of participants was the organization ‘Ukrainian Jewish Encounter’.
Among many questions of Israel current policies and the Jewish spiritual heritage, the theme of Ukraine and Ukrainian-Jewish relations in the history and the present was presented at the festival.
Speaking at festival ‘Limud-2015’ was Briman Simon, editor of Israel and the CIS American newspaper ‘Forum Daily’. ‘I am honored to present at the festival ‘Limud-2015’ the story of a great and truly righteous man - Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytskyy. In the year of the 150th birthday anniversary of the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, I told the Israelis about the enormous merits of the man under whose leadership nearly 200 Jews during World War II were rescued.”
According to him, special interest among the audience was caused those moments biography of Andrew Sheptytskyy who testified to the long association of Jews Metropolitan of Western Ukraine and the mutual respect between the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the heads of the Jewish community of Galicia.
“Speaking about the tragic events of 1941-1944, I emphasized that Metropolitan Sheptytskyy was the indisputable spiritual authority who had the courage to raise his voice against killing and against the complicity of some Ukrainians in the German genocide of the Jews,” Shimon Briman said.
Central to the session dedicated to Andrey Sheptytskyy was the demonstration of the documentary entitled “Saved by Sheptytskyy.” According to Shimon, direct speech and eyewitness’ testimony of Jews, who survived with the help of the Metropolitan in the bloody years of the Holocaust in Western Ukraine, made a lasting impression on Israelis.
Immediately after the film the audience asked a legitimate question: “If Metropolitan Sheptytskyy saved so many Jews, why Israeli ‘Yad Vashem’ has not yet awarded him the title of Righteous among the Nations?”
Following the words of Shimon Briman, a hot debate emerged. “I set out formal reasons according to which Yad Vashem has refused for decades to recognize Sheptytskyy as the righteous. I remembered and the materials sent from the Soviet Union fabricated by the KGB that noted the “hostile and nationalistic character” of Metropolitan. Then the audience asked a question: “What would you do: avoid making contact with the German occupation authorities and not to save 200 Jewish children, or conduct dialogue with the Nazis and save the persecuted Jews?" The audience spoke unanimously in favor of saving real human lives.”
This very film “Saved by Sheptytskyy” will be presented in January 2016 at the festival ‘Limud’ in California - and also with the support of the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter.