Rabbi Stanways trip to Poland

As you know, Rabbi Stanway went to Poland to help with the Ukrainian refugee situation and to bear witness to a terrible human tragedy. Below are the two articles from the Asbury Park Press; one before the trip and one after. Many have asked if they can still make a donation and the answer is ‘yes.’ Use your Shulcloud link and use the drop down Rabbis Discretionary Fund. Please be sure to specify that it is for Ukraine relief. Rabbi Stanway will then get the money to them

I will do anything’: Long Branch rabbi heads to Poland to help Ukraine refugees

Dan Radel

Asbury Park Press

LONG BRANCH – Rabbi Cy Stanway of Temple Beth Miriam will board a plane Saturday for Krakow, Poland, to lend a hand with growing number of Ukrainians seeking refuge there.

According to the most up-to-date reports, over 150,000 Ukrainians fleeing the Russian army have found their way to Poland’s second-largest city, putting a strain on resources there.

“I will do anything I am asked to do. Find someone a sweater, sit with someone and hold their hand,” Stanway said of his new role as a crisis chaplain.

Stanway, 62, will travel with a group of 16 rabbis from across the United States and Canada on a mission coordinated by Jonathan Orenstein, executive director of the Jewish Community Center in Krakow.

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Orenstein posted about the project on a private Facebook page for a professional association of American rabbis, Stanway said. He heard about it through his brother-in-law, Rabbi Ari Goldstein of Temple Beth Shalom in Arnold, Maryland, who also is going on the trip.

The group is going laden with clothes, medical supplies and funds to be dispersed. Stanway said his congregation, one of the oldest in Long Branch, contributed several thousand dollars, bottles of over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol and undergarments.

Stanway, who is also the head chaplain for the Long Branch Police Department, said his “conscience spoke very loudly to him,” to do something.

“When you look at the enormity, it’s hard to know if you can help. But if I touch one person and bring that person’s story back to New Jersey, that person will live within me and the congregation,” Stanway said.

He departs Saturday afternoon and has a return flight on April 14.

The itinerary is still being developed but is likely to include a visit to the Ukrainian-Polish border.

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‘Shell-shocked’ Ukrainians in Poland astonish Long Branch rabbi: ‘I have so much to tell’

Dan Radel

Asbury Park Press


LONG BRANCH – Rabbi Cy Stanway will not forget what he saw in Poland anytime soon.

He saw Ukrainian refugees arriving with nothing more than the shirts on their backs and a suitcase, mothers toting young children and doctors treating victims of sexual assaults. Their “shell-shocked” faces are ingrained in his mind.

“It was a very emotional trip. We were going nonstop. We visited three crisis centers, we met with city councils and mayors and traveled to the Ukrainian border,” said Stanway, who arrived home April 14 after spending a week in Poland assisting Ukrainian refugees fleeing from the Russian invasion of their homeland.

“Some of their hometowns were devastated. They don’t know anything about their final destination. They just know to go west to safety,” Stanway said.

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Over 5 million Ukrainians have left their country since the attacks started Feb. 24. About 2.8 million have found their way to Poland, according to the latest reports, where volunteers and NGOs — nongovernmental organizations — have flocked from all over the world to lend a hand.

Poland, which has taken in the most refugees, has converted old castles and defunct shopping malls into crisis centers to hand out donations and provide medical care to the Ukrainians. Stanway said the effort Poland has lent to the cause is “nothing short of gargantuan.”

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Stanway, 62, leader of Temple Beth Miriam in Elberon, traveled to Poland with a group of what turned out to be 25 rabbis from the United States and Canada organized by Rabbi Jonathan Orenstein of the Jewish Community Center in Krakow, Poland, to assist in the refugee crisis.

He said their congregations and communities raised a total of $750,000 and donated 4,000 pounds of supplies — from toothbrushes and underwear to pain relievers such as Aspirin, Motrin and Tylenol.

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Stanway went to Krakow, Poland’s second-largest city, as well as Przemysl near the border. In Przemsyl he took part in a seder, a meal served to commence Passover, with over 250 people.

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The experience motivated Stanway to pour his thoughts out on paper. He wrote a 17-page sermon titled “In the blink of an eye,” which he will deliver at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Temple Beth Miriam. Everyone is welcome, he said.

“The lesson is how quickly things can change, but how quickly people can respond,” Stanway said, “I have so much to tell.”