The Chronicle of Philanthropy: Cookies and Camaraderie
Elderly Jews in the former Soviet Union are sometimes known as "double victims," terrorized by the Nazis and persecuted under Communism. But nearly two decades after the Soviet regime's fall, many have reclaimed their faith and are rebuilding their lives around Jewish traditions. A New York charity is helping them do so. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee spends $120-million each year, or roughly 40 percent of its budget, to assist impoverished Jews in Russia, Ukraine, and nearby countries. "These people were lost in the fall of the Soviet Union," says Steven Schwager, the nonprofit group's chief executive. "When Communism ended, state support of people and taking care of the elderly fell off the table."