Strangers in Their Home: A Visit to Tbilisi

In Tbilisi, Georgia, hot meals are served at the JDC-supported Hesed to destitute elderly Jews. Photo by  James Nubile; courtesy JDC.

On the heels of Passover, we should be reminded that thousands of Jews are still on a journey from slavery. by Joy Sisisky I recently had the pleasure and privilege to spend a week visiting the Jewish community in Tbilisi, Georgia. If you don’t know where it is, don’t worry - neither did I until a few weeks ago. The Republic of Georgia is situated on the Black Sea bordering Russia to the north and Turkey, Armenia and Azebaijan to the south. A Jewish community of more than 10,000 lives peacefully among the people nestled between the big city and Caucasus. I was with a group of 10 other young professionals in our 20’s and 30’s from across the United States, all Jewish and devoted, like myself, to building a vibrant global Jewish community across generations. Besides some sightseeing … [Read more...]

In Ukraine, Caring for Caregivers

by Alan H. Gill My first visit to Odessa - the “pearl of the Black Sea” - was in the 1990s after the Soviet Union’s collapse. The city, even after decades of communist rule, remained a historical gem with its Potemkin Steps and ornate Opera House. It was also home to a significant Jewish population that has earned a distinct reputation for its special brand of pride. Having survived the Nazis and the Soviets, these Jews were eager to reclaim their identity and embrace the challenges of a post-communist existence. And they had a legacy of Jewish greats to draw from: Isaac Babel, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, Boris Goldstein, and even the Olympic medal-winning swimmer Lenny Krayzelburg. In the more than 20 years that have passed since I first visited, the community has blossomed. A … [Read more...]

The Jewish/ Israeli Response to Haiti: A Look at the Landscape Four Years Later

Haiti, September 2011 by Gideon Herscher

by Erica Lyons exclusive to eJewish Philanthropy The distance from Port-au-Prince, in Haiti, to New York is only 1,684 miles and from Port-au-Prince to Jerusalem it’s a more formidable 6,494 miles. It might as well be a million miles from both cities. Haiti was far off most of the world’s radar, including most of the Jewish world’s, until January 12, 2010 when disaster struck. But key Jewish/Israeli responders that provided help included the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), IsraAID, World ORT, American Jewish World Service (AJWS) and Tevel B’Tzedek. They all played a role in the immediate aftermath and have continued to demonstrate a long-term commitment to Haiti. Why is Haiti a Jewish/ Israeli Cause Anyway? Given the large scale of assistance by Israeli and … [Read more...]

One Week Remaining to Apply for Jewish Service Corps Multi-Week Program


JDC Entwine is accepting applications for it Jewish Service Corps Multi-Week program in overseas locations like India, Israel and the JDC/Lauder Foundation Szarvas Summer Camp in Hungary. This fellowship is ideal for recent college graduates, students with long breaks, or young professionals who are seeking a meaningful experience while engaging in service through a Jewish lens. Additional information is available at … [Read more...]

One Day in Kiev

JDC Kiev

Seen here are selected photographs taken by JDC's team in Kiev, where the Ukrainian capital has been transformed into a landscape resembling a war zone. Charred buildings line its wide boulevards and fortified encampments fill the city's Independence Square. JDC staff members, led by director of FSU operations Ofer Glanz, are working around the clock to ensure Ukraine's elderly Jews and single-parent Jewish families continue to receive the food and supplies they need. JDC’s Alena Druzhynina (pictured above in white helmet) entered the tense Independence Square area to bring a package of food to Mihail Solomonovich, an 82-year-old pensioner who has been homebound since the worst of the violence began. … [Read more...]

Applications Open: The Ralph I. Goldman Fellowship in International Jewish Service

Ralph Goldman 2014

Applications are open for the Ralph I. Goldman Fellowship in International Jewish Service (RIG), JDC’s premiere leadership opportunity for the world's top Jewish young professionals. Awarded to one person annually, the Ralph I. Goldman Fellowship in International Jewish Service is a one-of-a-kind leadership development experience that exposes, confronts, and enriches a talented rising leader through direct exposure and access to multiple communities and key challenges confronting the Jewish people. With senior JDC staff, RIG Fellows identify and design unique overseas placements shaped by their skills, interests and the critical needs of communities abroad. This is a professional opportunity for an exceptional young Jewish leader to make an impact the global Jewish world. RIG Fellows receive a … [Read more...]