Ashland group withdraws as co-sponsor of Ukraine rally in Medford

The Ukrainian flag
March 1, 2022

Remark about NATO prompts concern it would ‘turn into a debate’

Update, 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 2: Havurah Shir Hadash has withdrawn as a co-sponsor of this afternoon’s rally, Rabbi David Zaslow announced Wednesday morning after learning of a statement by Peace House, which had been listed as a co-sponsor. Zaslow also mention Code Pink as a cosponsor. As of Wednesday afternoon, the ORD2 Indivisible Facebook page only lists  Rogue Valley Chapter of Veterans for Peace as a cosponsor of the “Stand With Ukraine” rally.

The Peace House newsletter Tuesday included this: “We cannot ignore the issues leading up to the events of this week, and invite you to engage with the growing peace movement around the world calling for a de-escalation of violence in saying ‘No to NATO.’”

Here is an excerpt from Rabbi Zaslow’s explanation for the withdrawal: “I did not want my speech at the rally to turn into a debate with the other speakers who I suspect might be unfairly criticizing the Nato alliance that I would be asking G-d to bless.”

Original post:

By Holly Dillemuth, Ashland.news

Ayala Zonnenschein remembers stories told by her grandmother about a “horrific pogrom,” a persecution and massacre of a minority group, that devastated their little village outside of Kyiv in the early 1900s.

Ethel Doskow

Zonnenschein, executive director of Havurah Synagogue in Ashland, said her grandmother, Ethel Doskow Goldstein, was 3 years old at the time, but told the story throughout her entire life.

“Her mother and all of her siblings hid under the wood shavings in a carpenter studio. He was a friend of her father’s who was not Jewish and he hid them there,” Zonnenschein said. “And they could hear the Cossacks (Russian soldiers) screaming for the Jews. Had they not been so smart to leave, we could’ve been there.”

Zonnenschein’s great-grandparents, Joseph and Faigie Doskow, fled Ukraine with Ethel and her siblings in 1903, and made their way to Philadelphia.

Fagie and Joseph Doskow

The synagogue and another Ashland nonprofit organization, Peace House, are among the co-sponsors of a rally organized by ORD2 Indivisible, a progressive group named after Oregon’s second Congressional district, to stand with the people of Ukraine.

Supporters are encouraged to meet from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, at Vogel Plaza, 200 E. Main St. Individuals are asked to wear blue and yellow, bring sunflowers, and signs of support for the nation under siege by Russian troops at the direction of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Rabbi David Zaslow, who also has Ukrainian heritage, will speak at the rally.

“There are about 200,000 Jews in Ukraine who are in desperate trouble,” Zonnenschein said.

She also noted there are approximately 16,000 Jews over the age of 80 in Ukraine, many of whom are Holocaust survivors and are likely revisiting major trauma.

“There are many Jewish organizations who are raising funds, sending volunteers, both here, in Europe and in Israel to support these people in such a traumatic time …. These are our people,” she said.

Most Ashkenazi Jews originate from the Pale of Settlement, including much of Ukraine, an area where Jews were allowed to live during the 18th Century, according to Zonnenschein, including her own great-grandparents.

“Unfortunately our history there is not good,” she said. “There were horrible pogroms and most left when they could.

“We feel for the people there tremendously and want to do whatever we can to garner support for them.”

Zonnenschein encouraged everyone to attend the Wednesday rally to show support.

“It isn’t about Jew or non-Jew,” she said. “It’s about people caring about people, wherever they are and whoever they are.”

Rogue Valley Veterans for Peace is also a co-sponsor of the event.

“Indivisible has found that we are a lot more successful when we try to coalesce with other organizations and unite and raise our voices together,” said Teresa Safay, event organizer for Indivisible, a non-partisan group.

ORD2 Indivisible initially planned to rally on March 15 to bring attention to the 500 COVID-19 deaths in Jackson County. Organizers canceled it in order for the group to focus on gathering support for Ukraine.

“It’s been horrific watching what’s been going on in Ukraine over the last week,” Safay said.

The rally to support Ukraine will provide opportunities to donate to organizations supporting Ukraine. A yellow bucket will be on hand to collect donations.

Email Ashland.news reporter Holly Dillemuth at hollyd@ashland.news.

Disclosure: Peace House is a fiscal sponsor for Ashland.news, meaning that tax-deductible donations to Ashland.news are processed through Peace House until the IRS approves Ashland.news’ 401(c)(3) nonprofit status. Peace House has no role in determining the content of Ashland.news’ website.

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Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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