Sign In Forgot Password


To strengthen the lives of resilient Jews in the former Soviet states who survived the unimaginable and continue to be a beacon of light to us all.


Strengthen the renewal of Jewish life in the former Soviet states through humanitarian efforts enabled by meaningful engagement with Jewish communities and partners in North America.

Our primary focus is providing food, medicine, clothing, and other assistance to impoverished Jewish people where needed, working in 20 communities, serving over 2000 people each year. 

                       Fulfilling the Mission would mean that:

  • The lives of Jewish individuals, families, and communities in the former Soviet states are improved through direct humanitarian activities, with a special focus on the vulnerable elderly.

  • Evolving needs are continually identified and met through partnerships with community-based organizations.

  • Meaningful collaboration is created with Jews in North America through education and advocacy.

  • Jewish life in the former Soviet states becomes an important concern and philanthropic priority for American Jews

  • Next generations become active participants in continuing the work of  Action-PSJ.

    The story of the Soviet Jewry Refusenik Era and the American response is preserved and honored.


Action is a non-profit organization dedicated to rebuilding the Jewish Community in Eastern Europe and providing general humanitarian aid to those in need.

Action for Soviet Jewry was created in 1975 to help Jews living in the Soviet Union emigrate to the US and Israel. After the fall of communism in 1991, the borders were opened and Jews were free to leave. As much as half of the Jewish population in the Soviet Union chose to live in Israel or the US, a sign of how hard life was for them.

Realizing that many who stayed behind were living in poverty and isolation, Action renamed itself Action for Post-Soviet Jewry and went to work strengthening the Jewish community and providing food, medicine, clothing and other assistance where needed. 

Today, APSJ works in 20 communities, serving over 2000 people each year.


In mid-2014 Russia invaded Ukraine, taking all of the Crimean peninsula and parts of Eastern Ukraine in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. As a result of the war, Ukraine's currency has lost 2/3 of its value and Ukrainian pensions have also lost 2/3 of their value, leaving the elderly with little to spend on food or medicine.

Action for Post-Soviet Jewry is fortunately in place to provide money, food, clothes, medical supplies, and Jewish connection points to thousands of pensioners. Many of the people helped are Holocaust survivors, elderly and have a variety of physical. emotional and spiritual needs.

Action for Post-Soviet Jewry
By Judy Patkin


After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Action for Post-Soviet Jewry (APSJ) began its work in Ukraine. APSJ's first trip to Dnipropetrovsk was in 1993, the year after the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) decided to partner with the Jewish community there as part of the Kehillah Project of the National Conference for Soviet Jews.

We met Rabbi Shmuel and Chany Kaminezki, who represented the only Jewish organization, and began to meet other Jews who lived in Dnipropetrovsk. There were around 70,000 Jews in the city and few had emigrated because the city was “closed” during Soviet times due to
the manufacture of ballistic missiles. In fact, the city was heavily involved in manufacturing as seen by the black smoke rising from factories on both sides of the Dniepr River.

At this point, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (the Joint) did not have an office there. Both the JCRC and APSJ encouraged the Jewish community to organize under a secular leader, a prerequisite so they could receive aid from the Joint. Within a few years, the Joint opened an office and supplied a Jewish library and items like canes, walkers and wheelchairs for invalids, and eventually food packages. Rabbi Kaminezki worked out of the only functioning synagogue, a small old crumbling building used in the early 1900’s by the famous Rabbi Yitzhak Schneerson until he was arrested and died in exile.

APSJ began to work with a woman who had held a position in the city’s welfare office and had a list of those in need. On Rosh Hashanah we supplied apples and cheese for the person who made a weekly milk and bread run for the poorest in the Jewish community. It soon became clear that the poorest were the pensioners and the disabled, who had woefully inadequate pensions. In time, Rabbi Kaminezki’s efforts at providing for the Dnipro Jewish community improved and the Joint became more active.

Under the guidance of Yan and Tanya Sidelkovsky, APSJ looked to assist other nearby Jewish communities with no rabbi, but with many people who needed help with food, clothing and other basic necessities. As word of our Adopt-a-Bubbe or Zayde program spread, we added Jewish communities further away.

APSJ now work in over a dozen cities in Ukraine, including Cherkassy, Berdyansk, Dnipro (formerly Dnipropetrovsk), Kamenskoe (formerly Dniprodzerzhinsk), Kharkov, Kirovograd, Krivoy Rog, Lubny, Mariupol, Melitoppol, Novomoskovsk, Pavlograd, Poltava, Smela, Uman, Vinnitsa, and Zvenogorodka. Each Jewish community has a coordinator who works with APSJ to identify those most in need, ask them what they need, and purchase and deliver the items. The requests grew from less than 100 pensioners to around 1,500. And requests which used to be met with $5, now require close to $20.


Wed, September 27 2023 12 Tishrei 5784