THE RUSSIAN PROGRAM
New Jewish Ukrainian and Russian immigrants in Israel desperately need our help.
Fleeing from chaos and instability in their home countries to a world of unknowns, Israel’s newest immigrants are struggling to navigate their new lives in a foreign country.
Some arrived with just one suitcase. Some with only a plastic bag.
Many fled quickly without a plan. They know almost nothing about Israeli cities, schools, communities or healthcare. They don’t speak Hebrew.
They are young families. Single women. Single mothers. Older men.
Some families have been divided (with several children remaining behind with their father in Ukraine while their mother escaped to Israel with the younger children.)
Most adults are ages 25 to 55. The kids, of all ages.
They are struggling, alone.
Kesher Yehudi has jumped in to lead them through those first steps and beyond.
“In just two months since opening, we doubled our numbers and now have 100 participants with even more requests to join.”
-Dassy Shwalb, Russian Program Coordinator
How it works
Based on Kesher Yehudi’s successful Chavruta and Mechina programs, the Russian program not only assists new Russian and Ukrainian immigrants to acclimate, but also empowers these newcomers through one-on-one Torah learning.
KY advertises online in Russian to all new immigrants inviting them to join KY’s ulpan twice a week via Zoom. During the ulpan, our volunteers also offer them help with bureaucracy and life challenges. We then connect each one with a Russian Israeli friend to guide them in Israel and to strengthen their connection to Judaism.
With 50 volunteers in action and more volunteers waiting for a match, KY’s newest program is busy from morning to night.
But KY needs more resources to reach these new immigrants and to create special programming to accommodate their specific issues.
Your contribution will help KY to ease the trauma and challenges so many new Russian and Ukrainian immigrants and refugees are facing and give them the special opportunity to connect to their Jewish identity.
“I just felt so alone, responsible for my 2 kids, my cat and my dog. The apartment search was overwhelming and I started losing hope. I just needed a listening ear and a hug. When I contacted a KY representative to inquire about the ulpan, I burst into tears.”
-Tatiana, new Russian immigrant
“My husband and I recently arrived from Kyiv. I’m expecting my first child. I was so scared about giving birth in Israel. How would I arrange for my upcoming birth, buy all the necessities for the baby, get help for all the other little but essential bits and pieces? These things are normally happy worries, but not when you’re a refugee with no one to turn to for advice.”
-Anna, Ukrainian refugee
In both cases, KY’s Russian team immediately took action. KY connected Tatiana with Shulamit, a volunteer who lives on the next street over. From their first cup of tea, Shulamit and Tatiana solidified their friendship and connected even more by learning Tehillim together.
For Anna, the results were almost immediate. In just 2 hours, KY found not one, but two birthing coaches for Anna, one of them from Kyiv! KY volunteers provided Anna with information about birth centers in Jerusalem and options for special hotels for new mothers. They also introduced her to the amazing chesed provided for every new mother in our community. Needless to say, Anna’s new baby will be set through kindergarten!