Ahead of this year’s Passover holiday, the Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS (FJC) is running a fundraising campaign aimed at providing needy Jewish families across the FSU with Matzah, wine and other kosher for Passover products necessary for celebrating the holiday.
For the last 25 years the FJC, together with loyal partners from all over the world, has made tremendous effort at supplying over 200 tons of Matzah and 70,000 bottles of grape juice and wine for yearly Passover celebrations, and this year it hopes for help from its global friends and supporters in order to reach this goal.
“Thousands of children, seniors, Holocaust survivors and impoverished families in Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and other FSU countries simply do not have enough money to celebrate the holiday of ‘Freedom’,” said Daniel Gordon, the campaign’s coordinator. “In a time when they can finally celebrate freely, it is our moral obligation to make sure they can do so with dignity and self-respect,” he said.
Economic hardships have haunted a large part of the region in the recent years, with a violent armed conflict and political instability in Ukraine, sanctions and a financial crisis in Russia, and prolonged stagnation in Belarus. The first ones to suffer the consequences, of course, are the needy, the displaced, the young and the elderly.
“Under the Soviet regime Passover could not be celebrated due to persecution, but now we simply do not have enough money for it,” says 70-year old Larisa Ivanenko from the Jewish community of Mariupol.
Pensions have been cut severely in Ukraine by rising inflation, while the government is unable to offer any social support or benefits to those under the survival minimum. Jewish communities have been the ones to step in and offer any possible help to their most vulnerable members, but they can not do it alone. “It’s up to us to care for our brethren, to give them freedom to celebrate Passover,” Mr. Gordon said, expressing hopes that all the needy families in the FSU will have enough Matzah and other staples to celebrate the 8 days of the holiday with the help of Jews globally.