Heart to Heart

Holding on to the Uncertain

Recently, there was a photograph in The Wall Street Journal of an entire Ukrainian train station filled with people. You could see them stepping onto trains, leaving their lives behind, and not knowing what the next day would bring.


I’m heartbroken by the situation in Ukraine that is hurting thousands and thousands of innocent people. Many of my family and friends who live in Ukraine have fled and are now refugees in Poland, Germany, and neighboring Eastern European countries, while a few have remained.

I remember when I was a little girl myself, standing at the train station to leave Kharkiv, as we headed into the unknown. I remember thinking as I stood on the platform: What will tomorrow bring? At that time, my family believed that to live freely as Jews, we needed to leave Ukraine.

When you leave your country, you hope that tomorrow will be better than today. You hope there’s freedom and opportunity on the other side. You take a risk for that hope. You try to do the right thing – for yourself and for your family.

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Just like many Ukrainian people are doing today, I summoned whatever courage I could muster and channeled my spiritual strength, knowing that whatever might come, I could handle it. I did this throughout my upbringing.

During the pandemic, I saw myself, again and again, rise up to each new challenge.

The pandemic has enslaved us. It’s a highly vulnerable time for so many of us. We have faced obstacles with our kids, our communities, our family’s health, and our work. The world looks different than it used to.

How do you stay true to yourself through all of it? Do you have a north star that’s pointing the way while you head into the unknown?

As Passover approaches, I think about the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt, the Ukrainian people’s exodus from their country, and our own exodus from the pandemic and into the unknown.

What are the Jewish values that can help guide us? For me, courage comes to mind, as I think of the brave mothers carrying their children to safety. I think of unity without uniformity – understanding that we’re all one people and that each of us deserves dignity, love, and respect. Shalom bayit, peacefulness at home, can help center us and ease the tension around us. Faithfulness can ground us, too – knowing that there is a plan, that it’s all going to work out, that there is a Higher Power, and that your hopes and dreams for yourself and your children are still within reach.

At Momentum, we see ourselves as a home – one that must be renovated and reimagined for all, time and again. A place where everyone has a seat around the table no matter how different we may be. A place where we can find the experiences and inspiration we’re looking for in a way that fits with our lives.

This Passover, as we free ourselves from the shackles of yesterday, we pray for those who are seeking freedom around the world and look forward to the future with hope and joy.

As we continue to build our Momentum home, we hope you’ll join us.

What exodus story have you experienced? Which Jewish values help to guide you? Please share your story with me. I look forward to hearing from you!

Wishing you and your families a happy Pesach, Chag Sameach.

Helen Zalik Momentum Board President 
Helen Zalik
Momentum Board President

Helen Zalik, Momentum Board President 

Helen is a social entrepreneur, attorney, and philanthropist. Helen is the Founder and President of the Zalik Foundation and the Co-Founder of Jewish Women’s Connection of Atlanta. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Duke Law School.


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