This Chanukah, 5,000 needy Jewish children across Russia and Ukraine were once again the recipients of clothing gift certificates, a joint initiative of the Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS (FJC), the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) headed by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein and the Gloria Jeans clothing franchise.
The gift-card certificates are distributed to the most vulnerable children of the Jewish communities, such as children with social and health disabilities, children from a one-parent home, children from low-income families. Started in 2012, the initiative runs twice a year to provide the children with a set of new clothing for each season.
Thanks to the continuous support from the project partners, this winter was the 9th installment of the initiative, now in 36 cities in Russia and 21 cities in Ukraine.
Rostov-on-Don, the largest city in Russia’s southern region, has been participating in the project from the start. “Our children call the envelopes with the gift cards ‘happy notes,’ as we recently found out,” said the chief rabbi of Rostov, Rabbi Chaim Danzinger. In the community of Rostov, 140 children are helped to get dressed for the season each year. “In today’s image-conscious world, fashionable, new clothes are especially important for young people, as they help them fit in socially and raise their self-esteem,” he said.