Church Solidarity

Today the Russian teacher attended the very first Orthodox church service of her life. I brought her to church with me because I thought that if she’s religious, it’s unfair to deprive her of being able to go to service. It turned out that she’d never been until now. It’s kind of weird that Russian people need to go to the US to discover Orthodoxy but whatever works.

The priest, who never says anything political during sermons, changed his strategy today. He knew I was bringing a Russian person, so the whole sermon was about countries that invade neighboring nations and what a terrible thing that is. He said that even if a country has a terrible ruler who tells people it’s OK to invade, murder, rape and loot, it’s everybody’s personal responsibility not to let the devil conquer their soul. You have to be against the war and against bringing death to other nations.

Then we prayed for Ukraine. Five times during the service, we prayed for Ukraine.

Then, of course, Klara piped up with the only phrase she knows how to say in Ukrainian, which is “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!”

I haven’t spoken to the Russian teacher about the war yet. I’m not planning to until she hits the 6-month mark of being here. For now, it’s enough that she sees Ukrainian flags everywhere and notices how kind and welcoming everybody is. Then I’ll deploy my biggest secret weapon which is my Russian husband who is now a passionate Ukrainian nationalist. I so wish my Jewish father who was the biggest Ukrainian nationalist I have ever met were around. Deploying both a pro-Ukrainian guy from Moscow and a pro-Ukrainian Jew would deliver a very powerful blow.

If after all this, she doesn’t switch sides, we’ll know it’s hopeless.

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