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About Us

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.
 

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.

 

What APSJ DOES

ADOPT-A BUBBE/
ZAYDE
THE WARM HOUSE
 
 
CLOTHING, SHOES, BLANKETS and MEDICAL SUPPLIES
MITZVAH PROJECTS
and
SOCIAL ACTION
 
 
Education, Information and Networking
 
 
Wed, October 23 2019 24 Tishrei 5780