In recent days, rabbis around the world conducted special healing prayer services on behalf of Ukrainian President Volodymyr (Vladimir) Zelensky, and sent written wishes for a swift recovery to his office. Israel’s Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, sent a special video greeting on Sunday to the Ukrainian president, who is Jewish.
"I bless the president and pray that he will get out of his sickbed and return to lead his country,” said Rabbi Yosef. “Judaism teaches 'beloved is man who is created in His image.' Every person is beloved and should be respected – no matter who he is – because he is a person who needs to be cared for. The president who sanctifies God’s name in practice, in grace and mercy in Ukraine, therefore deserves to rise from his sickbed. May his days and years continue in good health.”
Rabbis from Belgium, France, Ukraine, and Dubai joined Israel’s Chief Rabbi in sending prayers. Belgium’s Rabbi Israel Miller, Head Cantor of the Great Synagogue of Europe, held a special prayer service for the president's recovery, adding that he "joins the people in Ukraine and around the world in praying for the speedy recovery of our friend, President Zelensky."
In his message to Zelensky, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, Rabbi of the Western Wall and the Holy Sites of Israel, reminded Zelensky of his recent visit to the Western Wall. “Your honor, the President of Ukraine, we are here at the Western Wall, the place where all prayers ascend to the Gates of Heaven. You have been here, you have prayed here, and now we are praying for your recovery and your health… We invite you to come to the Western Wall to thank the Holy One for his miracles and for your health, that with God's help, will soon be strong and unfailing."
Zelensky's visit to the Western Wall earlier this year caused a great deal of controversy when he chose to visit the holy site instead of attending a memorial service at Yad Vashem with other world leaders. Zelensky explained at the time that he chose not to attend the ceremony so that more Holocaust survivors could participate.
In a greeting from Dubai, Jewish community leaders Solly Wolf and Rabbi Levi Duchman sent the president wishes for a speedy recovery and are seen reciting a psalm for his healing. The rabbi of Ukraine, Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman, chose to hold a "Mi Sheberach" prayer at the Brodsky Choral Synagogue in Kiev, mentioning in his prayer the name of the president's mother, Vladimir ben Rima (Vladimir, son of Rima). Wishes for Zelensky’s recovery were sent on behalf of French Jewry by Rabbi Moshe Sabag, Rabbi of the Grand Synagogue of Paris. One of the most historic synagogues in France, it is where Alfred Dreyfus was married and where members of the Rothschild family prayed over the years.
The Office of the President announced last Monday that Zelensky had tested positive for COVID-19. He was hospitalized later in the week (Thursday). In a statement, the President Zelensky noted that "there are no lucky people for whom COVID-19 does not pose a threat.” He initially moved to his private residence to work in orderto properly isolate himself, then chose to be admitted to the hospital. Reports are that the president is feeling well.
In June of this year, first lady Olena Zelanska was hospitalized after falling ill to coronavirus and was released a month later. Zelensky joins a series of world leaders who have fallen ill in recent months with the coronavirus, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, and US President Donald Trump