Even before the recent global economic crisis, Russia had been experiencing dramatic changes, with a continuously growing gap between rich and poor and increasing migration of people moving from the country’s periphery to its urban centers in search of new opportunity.
From Moscow to Siberia to the Far East region, JDC supports Jews in 600-plus locations, aiding elderly and impoverished families who live in each of Russia’s nine time zones. More than two decades after the fall of Communism—which hindered the development of Jewish life in this vast country for over 70 years—JDC continues to create opportunities for Jews to reconnect to their tradition and to develop Jewish communities that are capable of responding effectively to the needs of their members.
Today, in collaboration with the local Jewish community, JDC:
- Saves Russia’s poorest Jews by helping struggling families and elderly living in substandard conditions with inadequate pensions. JDC provides food cards for the purchase of groceries in local supermarkets and covers medicines and skyrocketing winter heat costs for needy Russian Jews; services disabled and homebound children and elderly with home care; and works to integrate at-risk and special needs children and their families into formal and informal educational frameworks.
- Revitalizes Jewish life by reconnecting Russian Jews who were cut off from Jewish tradition through high-quality Jewish family retreats, summer camps, and other creative Jewish Community Center programs.
- Develops tomorrow’s Jewish leaders through state-of-the-art training initiatives created for communal staff and volunteers who will be the next generation to ensure the continuity of Jewish life in Russia.
- Rescues victims of emergencies: The leading killer of women age 45-55 in Russia today is breast cancer; half of the women diagnosed with the illness every year lose their lives to it. JDC’s Women’s Health Empowerment Program (WHEP) tackles this crisis by improving early detection, providing counseling and peer support services for women with breast cancer and their families, and facilitating partnerships among government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the medical community.
Learn more about how JDC’s pioneering programs are connecting young Russian Jews to their roots and inspiring them to lead their communities.
Take an in-depth look at JDC’s work and the vibrancy of Jewish life in our St. Petersburg city profile.
DID YOU KNOW?
JDC’s presence in Russia dates back to 1924 when it established the Agro-Joint in cooperation with the Soviet authorities (but was forced by those same authorities to leave in 1938). Fifty years later, JDC was again invited to operate freely in the country and bring its expertise and commitment to the aid of Russia’s Jewish communities.