Fostering Joy for FSU Elderly

Morris Katzman

At face value, 85-year old Morris, who lives alone in a remote, rundown cottage he built himself in Zhitomer, Ukraine is a mirror of the tragic circumstances of his life.

Living on a meager pension after a life of struggle, Morris is haunted by the sudden death of his daughter at the age of 21, and just two years ago, the death of his beloved wife.

But thanks to JDC and its operational partner, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), he knows the global Jewish community and its supporters will always be there for him.

He receives a bank card which he uses to purchase both food and medicine — essential, lifesaving aid. Today, he’s one of the scores of thousands of needy Jewish elderly in the former Soviet Union guaranteed basic essentials for survival through the IFCJ Food & Medicine Lifeline.

As a regular at his city’s JDC-supported Hesed Social Welfare Center’s Day Center, he also has a renewed sense of independence and a sense of community as he ages, enjoying cultural activities and other socialization programs.

“Hesed brings us, elderly people, the splinters of life, together, so that we can talk, share our thoughts and comfort one another,” he says. “It makes our life more joyful.”

Morris’ story is an important reminder that by working together, we can help elderly Jews in the former Soviet Union find community and add a bit of joy to their lives.

Join with us and IFCJ — as well as partners like the Claims Conference and Jewish Federations —in our efforts to ensure that elderly Jews in the former Soviet Union find a new sense of their own freedom.

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