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What My Trip to Russia Meant to Me

David Lefkowitz

We left Moscow at the crack of dawn this morning and headed out for a trek to the edge of Siberia to a town called Yekaterinburg. There are about 62,000 Jews in this rural central region of Russia, which comprises about 20% of Russia’s territory. This includes some 11,000 elderly Jews (many of whom are Holocaust survivors) that JDC supports with food, shelter, and medical assistance. JDC is also active in helping organize and sustain the Jewish community, including a variety of youth programs

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A First Trip “There,” Forever Ingrained

(Left) Jamie Epstein, JDC's Media Relations Manager, and a portion of  her study group visit Vera Parschukova (middle), in her home in Odessa, Ukraine.

Jamie Epstein

As I started putting everything together that I would need for my first trip to Ukraine, my initial venture to the former Soviet Union that I’ve heard inspiring narratives about nearly every day for a year, my eyes drifted to the power converter set my grandmother lent me. Opening it, I saw my grandfather’s name etched inside. He’d passed away nearly three and a half years ago, and I was extremely close with him, so my mind was at ease knowing that no matter what experiences awaited me, Grandpa Leon would be with me every step of the way, especially as his parents were from that part of the world.

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