Top leaders of Ukraine’s Jewish community joined Secretary of State John Kerry near Kiev’s Independence Square yesterday to commemorate demonstrators who were killed protesting their government last month.
In an email to the Forward, the country’s Reform Chief Rabbi Alexander Dukhovny said that he presented a book entitled “Jewish Wisdom” to the secretary of state and told him that Ukrainians are committed to building a democratic and just society.
The rabbi stood with representatives from the country’s Christian and Muslim communities as well as the Orthodox Chief Rabbi, Yaakov Bleich.
Dukhovny came out in favor of the anti-government protests last month and rejected widespread allegations that the demonstrations were motivated by right-wing nationalism.
“Yes, there are some marginal groups in Ukraine whose views are anti-Semitic, and some of those people were among the protestors,” he wrote in the Forward. “However, the protestors’ main focus was on changing the corrupted presidency, government and unjust courts, and on getting rid of oligarchs.”
Kerry visited the struggling nation yesterday to express his support to the nation’s new government amidst extreme economic woes and growing Russian interference.
He reportedly laid a bouquet of roses in Kiev’s central square, the epicenter of the protests, to commemorate protestors who have died. He also vowed a $1 billion energy subsidy package.