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Newton community comes together to support Ukraine

Many parents gathered to watch their children dance at the fund-raiserHannah DiPilato

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

The concert, held at the 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 around 700 tickets that brought in about $16,100 in ticket sales and $6,600 in donations via its website.

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


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

“No matter who we spoke to, whether it was to spread the word or bring something to the event, hands down people were like, ‘What can I do to help?,’” Darsa said. “It was just really beautiful to see all the community come together to support this one cause.”

Samye Palsang and Lonam Palsang shared shaved ice at the Ukraine fund-raiser.Hannah DiPilato

Darsa said vendors gave everything they could to support the event, even at the risk of losing money. Some vendors covered upfront costs and donated a percentage of the proceeds, while others donated time and services.

Roscoe Airbrush Tattoos offered concert-goers complimentary airbrush tattoos to support the Ukraine fund-raiser.

“You could just feel the love and support for people who we’ve never met,” Darsa said. “This was just people, families wanting to support others and that’s what made this event so powerful and beautiful.”

A spread of colorful food was provided by Clover Food Lab. Participants were able to purchase food during the concert and create their own mezze platters. In all, 20 percent of the proceeds from the food will be donated to Ukraine.Hannah DiPilato

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


Jed Weiss and his daughter Eden worked together to make sunflowers for Ukraine. This was part of a larger initiative called the “Community Sunflower Project,” where participants were asked 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) Israeli Dance Performance Troupe of Boston, also performed at the Ukraine fund-raiser. Onot is open to dancers of all abilities from kindergarten through 12th grade, according to its website, and explores culture, heritage, and traditions through Israeli dance.

After the dancing concluded, Mark Sokoll, president and chief executive officer of the JCC Greater Boston, gave a speech to thank those who helped put on the event and emphasized how everything donated at the concert would go directly to the JCC in Dnipro, Ukraine.

Attendees heard from Vadim Farber, head of the JCC in Dnipro, during a video played while they sat on the lawn.

In a later interview, Sokoll said he contacted 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 anything we could do to raise money and send money there.”

Natalja Sticco, a Latvian-born opera singer, volunteered to perform the Ukraine national anthem and a song for a fallen soldier. Sticco said she has been trying to do everything she can to support the people suffering overseas as the issue is close to home for her.

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


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