In the wake of the wars and Communist rule that dominated Europe over the past century, JDC has worked to rebuild shattered lives and fractured Jewish communities throughout the continent.
Today, JDC has redefined its operations in the region to complement the current realities of new borders and accelerated change.
From Berlin to Bucharest, JDC provides critical assistance to meet the vital needs of Jews at risk, help foster self-sustaining communities, and pave the path for the next generation.
JDC’s work in Central and Eastern Europe focuses on:
- Saving the poorest Jews: JDC provides lifesaving assistance to impoverished Jewish elderly—primarily Holocaust survivors—and needy Jewish children throughout the region. In these times of economic uncertainty in the Balkans and throughout Eastern Europe, JDC answers the cries of the “new poor” who are severely impacted by unemployment, inflation, and debt and in need of food, medical care, and housing and utility subsidies.
- Revitalizing Jewish life: Continuing to revive Jewish communal life in countries that lived under communist rule until the late 1980s, JDC acts as a catalyst for community development and Jewish renewal throughout Europe. JDC’s programs educate Jews about pluralistic Jewish traditions within and outside the walls of Jewish community centers; and provide Jewish camping programs, family retreats, and grassroots and virtual learning experiences that build a connection to Jewish life and culture for future generations of European Jewry.
To help strengthen the infrastructure of growing communities, JDC works with local partners to help volunteers and professionals develop skills in strategic planning, fundraising, property restitution and management, and regional networking.
- Developing tomorrow’s Jewish leaders: JDC trains Jewish professionals, lay leaders and volunteers through learning seminars, conferences, and cross border initiatives. JDC is investing in a cadre of up-and-coming leaders to ensure communal life continues to grow and communities can respond to the pressing needs of their most vulnerable members.
For years, JDC has provided communities in the region with professional expertise and cultivated leadership to ensure Jewish continuity. JDC’s aim in Europe is to continue to help communities move toward self-sustainability in all aspects of communal life, even in the face of current challenges.