News is getting more difficult from Odessa as the war with Russia through its surrogates continues. Here is a copy of an e-mail I just received from a friend:
" Shalom dear David and Leslie!
Happy new year! We wish you God's blessings in the New Year and each new day of your life!
A new year has come and in Odessa and there is news worthy of your attention. Over the past month, there have been 5 attacks. Most of them were small. They blew up Bank branches, or offices of volunteers (those who help the Ukrainian military or refugees). But for the last 10 days in the center of Odessa happened 3 explosions. Twice they blew up the cars (once suffered the driver, the second time was blown up empty car, but suffered passers-by). A few days before the New Year, there was an explosion at 4 o'clock in the morning. The man was carrying a package with (explosive materials) of great power, and perhaps unexpectedly, this thunder flash exploded right in his hands. Since this happened early in the morning, many people were not around, but was badly damaged nearby houses. The man was killed instantly. In Odessa, now declared anti-terrorist Operation. Maybe for someone this inconvenience (checking in the streets, checking cars, suspicious bags), but I'm willing to tolerate the inconvenience and I have hope that the explosions will stop and not happen a tragedy!
Ukraine has suffered badly, and most people in a very hard financial conditions. The price of the dollar rose more than two times (previously the dollar was worth UAH 8, today 17 UAH, on the black market 24 UAH), respectively, and commodity prices rose in two and wages remained and what was before that."
Leslye and I lived in Odessa for 12 years and have led leadership conferences there for an additional 7 years. Life was hard but we did not have to endure an invasion and a 100% drop in the value of the money in a short period of time. If you want to help believers in Ukraine during this crisis as well as desperate Jewish refugees from eastern Ukraine who are winding up in Messianic Jewish congregations let me know. We have now 19 years of experience in doing so and all of your donations are tax exempt. Blessings for a new year. Shalom, David Schneier