Thousands of Needy Elderly Jews in Former Soviet Union to Receive Honey, Apples, Extra Food for Rosh Hashanah

Fania, a 65-year-old resident of Krivoy Rog, Ukraine, is visited by volunteers Natalya and Patrick for Rosh Hashana. The jar of honey is a gift of JDC and the IFCJ Lifeline. Photo courtesy JDC.

This Rosh Hashana, thousands of poor, elderly Jews across the former Soviet Union (FSU) will receive extra food and traditional holiday fare, including apples and honey, to celebrate the Jewish New Year. The special Rosh Hashana aid – provided by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and its partners, the Claims Conference, and the IFCJ Lifeline, an operational partnership with the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) – will be distributed throughout the region.

Jewish Seniors in Mogliev, Belarus, enjoy a Rosh Hashana celebration with a shofar sounding, apples and honey, and learning the holiday prayers. Photo courtesy JDC.

In addition to the holiday treats and extra food that vulnerable seniors will receive this High Holiday season, they will also participate in local holiday activities including concerts, games, cooking workshops, and cultural performances. The gatherings are held at JDC’s network of Hesed social welfare centers and Jewish community centers throughout the region. Homebound seniors will receive visits from volunteers to help celebrate Rosh Hashanah.

Among the Rosh Hashana events JDC is organizing, in Ukraine, volunteers in Odessa will visit homebound and elderly Jews served by the local Hesed welfare center, and the Nikolaev Jewish Community Center will host a Rosh Hashana Shabbat for elderly community members. Similarly, in Belarus, homebound Hesed social welfare clients will be visited by volunteers for at-home celebrations in Minsk, while the Grodno Hesed social welfare center will host a multi-generational celebration in the city’s Great Choral Synagogue.