The Newton community comes together to support Ukraine

The Jewish Community Center of Greater Boston held a benefit concert on April 10 to raise money for those suffering in Ukraine, bringing the community together with music, food and art.

The concert, held at Leventhal-Sidman JCC West Lawn (333 Nahanton St.) in Newton. included a variety of vendors with airbrush tattoos, custom t-shirts, and more. JCC Greater Boston officials said they sold about 700 tickets which brought in about $16,100 in ticket sales and $6,600 in donations through its website.

“I am horrified by what is happening and I want to support the Ukrainian people,” said Judi Burten, who attended the event. “It’s very scary that this is happening.”

Jamie Darsa, director of communications at JCC Greater Boston, said everyone the nonprofit reached out to was more than willing to help with the event. All of the vendors gave the JCC a “generous discount” or donated part of the profits to Ukrainian aid, she said.

“No matter who we spoke to, whether it was to spread the word or contribute something to the event, people were like, hands down, ‘What can I do to help?'” Darsa said. “It was truly wonderful to see the whole community come together to support this one cause.”

Samye Palsang and Lonam Palsang shared shaved ice while fundraising in Ukraine.Hannah DiPilato

Darsa said vendors gave their all to support the event, even at the risk of losing money. Some providers covered initial costs and donated a percentage of the proceeds, while others donated time and services.

Roscoe Airbrush Tattoos gave concertgoers free airbrush tattoos to support fundraising in Ukraine.

“You can just feel the love and support for people we’ve never met,” Darsa said. “It was just people, families who wanted to support each other and that’s what made this event so powerful and so beautiful.”

A variety of colorful foods have been provided by Clover Food Lab. Attendees were able to purchase food during the concert and create their own mezze platters. A total of 20% of the food proceeds will be donated to Ukraine.Hannah DiPilato

Many parents gathered to watch their children dance at the fundraiser. The dancers were from KesheRoked and KesheRoked Katan, two performing troupes that are part of Kesher Newton, a pluralistic Jewish after-school program.

Jed Weiss and his daughter Eden worked together to make sunflowers for Ukraine. It was part of a larger initiative called the “Community Sunflower Project”, where participants were invited to share words of peace on a paper sunflower petal that would come together to form a collaborative installation.Hannah DiPilato

Another dance group, ONOT (which translates to seasons) Israel Dance Performance Troupe from Boston, also performed at the fundraiser in Ukraine. Onot is open to dancers of all levels, from kindergarten to terminale, according to its websiteand explores culture, heritage and traditions through Israeli dance.

After the dance ended, Mark Sokoll, President and CEO of JCC Greater Boston, delivered a speech thanking those who helped organize the event and stressed that anything donated at the concert would go directly at the JCC in Dnipro, Ukraine.

Attendees heard Vadim Farber, head of the JCC in Dnipro, in a video broadcast as they sat on the lawn.

In a later interview, Sokoll said he reached out to Farber and asked if there was anything the community in Massachusetts could do to support those suffering in Ukraine.

“He literally emailed me back in about three minutes,” Sokoll said. “They needed resources, they needed everything we could do to fundraise and send money over there.”

Natalja Sticco, a Latvian-born opera singer, volunteered to perform the Ukrainian national anthem and a song for a fallen soldier. Sticco said she is trying to do everything she can to support those suffering overseas because the problem is close to home.

“I have relatives in Russia and friends in Ukraine,” Sticco said. “It’s heartbreaking to see what’s going on.”

Hannah DiPilato can be reached at newtonreport@globe.com.

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