Despite ongoing challenges in Ukraine, Jewish life is thriving and will be given new expression with the official dedication today of the Halom Jewish Community Center (JCC), a new 17,000 square foot facility located in central Kiev. The center – a project of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and Kiev’s Jewish community – serves as a multi-generational hub for Jewish cultural, educational, community, and social service programs and activities. Ukrainian, American, and Israeli government representatives are expected to join local municipal and JDC leaders including, President Stan Rabin, CEO Alan H. Gill, CEO designate David Schizer, and FSU Regional Director Michal Frank, for the ceremony and celebration.
“The dedication of the Halom JCC is yet another step forward in the evolution of Jewish life in Kiev, showcasing the revitalization of Jewish culture, state of the art care for the poorest Jews, and the tenacity of Ukrainian Jews to forge on in their community building despite the issues faced by their country.” said JDC President Stan Rabin and CEO Alan H. Gill.
The Halom JCC, which has been open for three months, is a multipurpose center housing a variety of organizations and services. They include: Jewish Family Service, where at-risk families are aided and displaced Jews from Ukraine’s east are given opportunities to seamlessly integrate into their new location, and a JDC office. Halom JCC has early childhood programs, baby and prenatal yoga, speech therapy, and mental health assistance. Classes range from music to Hebrew and English language courses, from cooking, arts & crafts, and dance, to sports hobby groups. Teens can attend or take advantage of the JCC-based Youth Club, leadership-training program, Sunday school, cinema club, vocational assistance program, weekend camping experiences, or tours to historic Jewish sites in Kiev.
Kiev, home to the largest Jewish community in Ukraine with an estimated 60,000 + Jews, has numerous synagogues, community programs and institutions, schools and cultural offerings, all demonstrating the vibrancy of Jewish life in the capital city.
JDC has been a major player in Ukrainian Jewish life in the post-Soviet period, operating today 4 major offices and supporting a network of 32 Hesed social welfare centers serving tens of thousands of Jews in need in more than 1,000 locations across Ukraine. JDC also supports 21 JCCs, runs Jewish family camps and informal Jewish educational opportunities, and operates the decade old METSUDA program, a highly successful young adult leadership training initiative which has more than 250 graduates who have become active in their Jewish communities.