Hesed (FSU Jewish Community Welfare Centers)

Hesed is a network of nonprofit community welfare centers to serve the Jewish community in former Soviet Union states (FSU's).[1][2] The network provides services to Jews who remained in post-Soviet states after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.[3][4][5] Hesed uses its volunteers and charity centers to provide basic necessities and medical services within a physical location in which community members can meet and participate in cultural and religious activities.[6][7][8]

Hesed (FSU Jewish Community Welfare Centers)
FounderAmos Avgar

History edit

The first Hesed center opened in 1993 in St. Petersburg.[9] The organization was formed by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC)[10][11][12] and funded by JDC, International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), World Jewish Relief, and other donors.[3] Hesed based its structure and activities on a model developed by Amos Avgar, who was Director of the JDC-FSU Welfare Department.[13] Volunteering, fostering community and Jewish traditions or Yiddishkeit were central to the model.[8] As of 2003, there were 174 Hesed centers operating in 2,800 Jewish communities[5] and serving over a quarter-million people in the FSU.[7] Hesed continued to operate through the war between Russian and the Ukraine in Crimea and the Donbas starting in 2014.[14][2] During the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Hesed continued providing services[15] to its approximately 37,000 Ukrainian clients.[16] The organization also offered psychological counseling and operated a hotline for those needing assistance and treatment during the hostilities.[15]

Services edit

In addition to activities in the Hesed centers, volunteers visit the homebound.[17] Hesed's services included food programs and packages,[4] meals-on-wheels, soup kitchens, winter relief, homecare, providing medicine, medical equipment[7] and medical services.[3][8]

Social and community services include day centers, library services, and Jewish holiday celebrations.[4][8]

References edit

  1. ^ Liphshiz, Cnaan (4 October 2012). "Funds for Ukrainian Survivors Bring High Hopes". Times of Israel. Retrieved 15 February 2023.
  2. ^ a b Sokol, Sam (19 September 2014). "Unable to flee, elderly Jews remain behind in eastern Ukraine". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 17 February 2023.
  3. ^ a b c Tighe, Elizabeth; de Kramer, Raquel Magidin; Bleckman, Dina; Nursahedov, Begli; Saxe, Leonard (2012). Hardship And Needs Of Elderly Hesed Clients: An Analysis Of Clients Served By Hesed Service Centers In Russia & Ukraine. Boston, MA: Brandeis University. pp. 27–34. Retrieved 16 February 2023.
  4. ^ a b c Weiner, Anita (2003). Renewal : reconnecting Soviet Jewry to the Jewish people ; a decade of American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (AJJDC) activities in the former Soviet Union ; 1988-1998. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. pp. 176, 205. ISBN 9780761824763.
  5. ^ a b Radler, Melissa (17 October 2003). "Acts of kindness". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 17 February 2023.
  6. ^ ZIieve, Tamara (3 April 2017). "Scores help reach out to elderly, needy Jews in Ukraine". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 23 February 2023.
  7. ^ a b c Shachtman, Tom (2001). I Seek My Brethren: Ralph Goldman and 'the Joint' : Rescue, Relief, and Reconstruction. New York: New Market Press. p. 240. ISBN 1557044953.
  8. ^ a b c d Harrison, Andrew (2003). "Book Review: Renewal: Reconnecting Soviet Jewry to the Jewish People; A Decade of American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (AJJDC) Activities in the Former Soviet Union, 1988-1998". American Jewish History. 91 (1): 191–193. doi:10.1353/ajh.2004.0029.
  9. ^ Alleson, I. (2006). "[Review of Social Disaster as Opportunity: The Hesed Model, by J. Mirsky, R. Kaufman, & A. Avgar]". Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations. 17 (4): 377–378. Retrieved 17 February 2023.
  10. ^ Maltz, Judy (1 May 2022). "The Woman Who Oversaw the Rescue of 250 Ukrainian Jews From the Russian Border". Haaretz. Retrieved 17 February 2023.
  11. ^ Khanin, Vladimir (2002). "Institutionalization Of The Post-Communist Jewish Movement: Organizational Structures, Ruling Elites, And Political Conflicts". Jewish Political Studies Review. 14 (1/2): 11–12.
  12. ^ "Top Russian Rabbi Says NGO Crackdown Worries Jews". Forward. 29 September 2015. Retrieved 15 February 2023.
  13. ^ Katz, Esther (1 January 2004). Hesed Evaluation Study: Jewish Identity, Community Orientation and Voluntarism: Report Number 5: Findings from an In-depth Study of Hesed Directors and Jewish Community Representatives (PDF). Jerusalem: JDC-Brookdale Institute. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  14. ^ Borschel-Dan, Amanda (6 March 2014). "Crimean Jews Surprised by New Referendum to Join Russia". Times of Israel. Retrieved 16 February 2023.
  15. ^ a b Surkes, Sue (2 March 2022). "Risking Life and Limb, Hesed Network Continues Caring for Ukraine's Neediest Jews". Times of Israel. Retrieved 15 February 2023.
  16. ^ Liphshiz, Cnaan (22 February 2022). "Odessa's Rabbi, Responsible for 250 Kids in 3 Orphanages". Times of Israel. Retrieved 16 February 2023.
  17. ^ Avgar, Amos; Mirsky, Julia; Kaufman, Roni (2006). "Chapter Three: From Model to Movement: The Development of Hesed Centers in the Former Soviet Union". In Mirsky, Julia; Kaufman, Roni (eds.). Social Disaster as Opportunity: The Hesed Model. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. p. 198. ISBN 9780761833383.