JFNA Mission Visits JDC-Supported Programs in Belarus

JDC clients participate in programming at the Minsk Jewish Campus.
JDC clients participate in programming at the Minsk Jewish Campus. photo: Courtesy of Alexandra Shklar

JDC Executive Director for Strategic Partnerships Dov Ben-Shimon recently traveled to Minsk, Belarus, to address more than 100 Federation campaign leaders and staff representing over 35 communities for the Jewish Federations of North America Campaign Chairs and Directors’ Mission.

The group visited JDC Hesed clients, as well as the Minsk Jewish Campus, the primary Jewish community center for the central Belorussian city of about two million people.

The mission then traveled to Israel to visit JDC programs and Jewish sites throughout the country.

In Ben-Shimon’s remarks to the mission, he stressed the importance of annual Federation support, which enables JDC to assist Hesed clients like Galina Naumova, an 88-year-old partially blind and deaf widow and the daughter of partisan fighters.

“She is alive today because of Hesed. Because of you,” he said. “Because her state pension won't cover her medicines and her basic food needs. But you do.”

JDC is in the business of renewal and community-building, Ben-Shimon says – twin goals that would be impossible without Federation unrestricted support.

“Make no mistake. There is real hunger in the Jewish world. Hundreds of thousands hungry, needy. They need food, and medicine, and homecare,” he said. “But there is also thirst. A real thirst for Jewish identity, for belonging, for community.”

For more information on JDC’s work in Belarus, visit: http://www.jdc.org/where-we-work/former-soviet-union/belarus.html

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