The Federation of Jewish Communities (FJC) was established in November 1998 to revive the Jewish communities of the Former Soviet Union . We provide humanitarian aid and Jewish education, organize cultural events and religious services, and help develop Jewish communities and rebuild Jewish institutions.
Our main bureau represents member interests on the international front, and we also represent community members in government and institutional forums. The FJC, at all times, strives to develop and maintain good working relations with members of other faiths.
Since its launch we have posted over ninety rabbis and countless community leaders in central locations, and have been recognized as an umbrella organization that represents and administers a variety of established funds and institutions that operate in the region.
Throughout 70 harsh years, the Soviet regime brutally crushed Jewish life across the USSR; thousands of Jews were murdered or exiled, while millions more were severed from their roots, heritage and identity. Hundreds of flourishing Jewish communities were reduced to rubble.
Upon the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1991, a new era began, and the dire needs of the remaining Jewish communities in the post-Soviet world led to the formation of an organization uniting an unprecedented amount of Jewish communities – The Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS – FJC. This newly-formed organization faced the enormous task of reviving Jewish life in hundreds of communities across 10 time zones and thousands of kilometers, most of which struggled in some of the worst imaginable living conditions and had very little knowledge of the rich Jewish life and culture destroyed by the Soviet regime.
Over the course of 25 years, FJC played a prominent role in outreach to grassroots communities in 90 major cities and 290 small towns and villages in 10 countries across the FSU – Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Estonia and Latvia. FJC is leading an inspiring new chapter in the history of the third largest Jewish community in the world: local communities have been revived, synagogues reclaimed and the spirit of the Jewish people restored. FJC is engaged in nurturing every aspect of Jewish life, from the urgently needed humanitarian aid to the renaissance of Jewish education, culture and heritage.
Among FJC’s flagship programs are:
- The ‘Or Avner’ Jewish educational network, comprised of 124 schools that serve over 6,823 students and are recognized for their excellence in general and Jewish studies.
- Informal education – youth programs and outreach, including a large summer camps network and the dynamic EnerJew and Stars initiatives that reach out to university students and teenagers to cultivate young Jewish leadership and spur community activism.
- Orphanage network of five children’s homes that shelter over 400 orphans, displaced and abused children.
- Humanitarian Aid that includes medical assistance for families and elderly people, 4,500 monthly food packages and 4,800 clothing packages twice a year. There are 88,000 Passover parcels distributed each spring.
- Refugee crisis relief – over 7,050 refugees in the Eastern Ukraine are being helped with essential needs ranging from shelter and clothing to medical attention and employment.
- Social services and counseling – expert psychiatric and psychological teams in Israel are enlisted to address mental health needs in Jewish communities across the former Soviet Union.
What began as a grassroots initiative, led by the remaining Jews of the FSU, developed into an all-encompassing mechanism that supports the needs of hundreds of communities in a timely and effective manner. With unmatched presence on the ground and minimal overhead costs, FJC has become a lean and effective mechanism to alleviate poverty and lead the revival of Jewish life in the FSU. By keeping its hand on the pulse of the evolving needs of the Jews of the CIS, FJC is in the unique position to carry-out its mission: providing excellent education; reviving post-Soviet Jewry; saving lives and nurturing stability and hope.
“A Rabbi is not permitted to refuse to give an answer; a rabbi’s job is to show the proper manner in which to live according to Torah laws.” (Avi Lazerson)
The Rabbinical Alliance was formed in May 1992 by prominent rabbis of the former Soviet Union to tackle the challenge of reviving the Jewish community. For more than 70 years, Jews had been barred from religious observance and forcibly educated in atheism. Now they could finally be instructed in the glory of their past. Today, the Alliance counts 101 members in 10 countries.
In addition to its broad religious functions, the Alliance partners with its respective communities to provide a wide array of educational, cultural and humanitarian services. Rabbis and their families are dispatched to distant locations, such as Siberia, Vladivostok or Uzbekistan, to settle in and lead local communities. Their salaries and living expenses are financed by the Rohr Family Foundation of NY & Florida and their outstanding accomplishments are a tribute to the dedication and idealism of Chabad-Lubavitch.