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April 10, 1998     Jewish News
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April 10, 1998

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Where Your UJA Federation Campai! n Dollars Go! IS THE ALIYAH OVER? No, the aliyah continues.The first direct flight left Yekaterin- burg for Israel in 1995. Since then, 3,378 Jews from around the region have started new lives in Israel. In 1997 alone, 62 Jews from Yekaterinburg made aliyah; 100 Jewish families attended four weekend aliyah prepa- ration seminars. Others participated in an ongoing Family Aliyah Club. 130 young Jews took part in eight "Limukiya" classes that prepared them for study programs in Israel. 40 parents of teenagers and young adults already in Israel programs attended special classes to prepare them for their own aliyah. And as you read this, 800 students from Yekaterinburg and the surrounding area are studying with 15 locally trained teachers at Hebrew-language ulpans. Last year, ten of the city's teachers made aliyah. All these pro- grams are designed to promote aliyah.AII the counselors are trained by your dollars. All the programs are supported with your gift to the UJA/Federation Campaign. THE ELDERLY. Yekaterinburg's Jewish welfare programs, the Menora fund, was transformed into the Hesed Menora Center on November 24, 1997.The center is quickly becoming a hub of Jewish activity and provid- ing life-saving services to hundreds of needy Jewish elderly who can barely subsist on meager pensions. The Menora fund served 220 elderly Jews; the new Hesed has the capacity to serve ten times that. THE COMMUNITY. Yekaterinburg and the Ural region are served by eight Jew- ish camp sessions in the summer; a Jewish youth club serves the city year-round. A UJA/Federation supported newsletter keeps Jewish community members informed about local Jewish activities, while bringing news from young people studying in Israel and the latest information about aliyah and Israel. A Campaign-supported Jewish Studies Center at the Ural State University draws hundreds of visitors every year; a Hillel pro- gram is getting underway.Yekaterinburg Jews attend two Jewish Sunday schools; one Jewish Children's Center that is open two Sundays each month; a kindergarten, a community center; and a Jewish Culture Society club, which offers lectures and movies on Yid- dishkeit Your increased gift to the UJA Fed- eration Campaign would allow us to promote aliyah more; and to build a stronger Jewish identity in the commu- nities of the former Soviet Union. r. Nehamkin, 43, his wife Sima, their 14-year-old daughter Paulina and Sima's father Leb :lb, 84, were among two dozen new immigrants aboard the recent Ural Airlines flight 3721 from Dr. Nehamkin is a psychiatrist."Although there are a lot of new immigrant physicians reaching Israel, there are not so many psychiatrists.And, not surprisingly, there are psychological strains that come with aliyah. Our family had hope that we would have a brighter and Jess anti-Semitic future in Rus- sia, but crime and corruption are increasing and the economy is deteriorating.We want Paulina to learn about Jewish culture and to have a better education.The aliyah is hard for all of us, especially Paulina and my father-in-law, who lost his whole family in the Holocaust, but we are all looking ahead and we are confident we will succeed? U]A Fec)eration Campaign in /ormer Soviet Union Yekaterinbur& on the banks of the Iset River in the Ural Mountains, has a pop- ulacion of more than 1.5 million, with some 15,000 Jews. Founded in 1723 as a natural out- growth of the iron smelting works established there by Russian Czar Peter the Great, the city quickly became Peter's "Window to Asia" and the urban center of the Ural and Siberian reons. In the 1800s, Yekatertnbur& capitalizing on its vast mineral resources, led Cen- tral Russia into the new industrial A few decades later, Yekaterlnburg would capture the attention of the world. During the October Revolution, the Czar and his family were impris- oned and later killed there. In 1924, Lenin changed the name of the city to Sverdlovsk, after a famous Jewish hero of the Revolution. Thousands of jews throughout the Soviet Union were evacuated to the Urals duringWorid War 11; many stayed in the area's growing miiry industrial complex. (In fact, after the war, the city was closed to itors because of "the secret nature of the local industry.") Jews living in Yekaterinburg today are themselves remnants of that evacua- tions, or are its descendants. In the 1970s, Boris Yeltsin was the city's First Secretary. The name Yekaterinburg was restored in 1992 and today, despe Its harsh and unstable clima it is a thriv- ing industrial metropolis ... with com- mercial contacts with companies d the United States, as well as a number of trade alreements with Israel, some nelotbted as recendy as November 1997.The city, which is sur- rounded by lush forests and clear blue lakes, enjoys a rich cultural life and, as a rqtionai capitaYdcaterintm is home to the Ural Ste Un, 15 insdtu- tkal of Igher educatn and 40 tech- nical schools. No One Gift Closer to Home By Mark L. GoldsteJn Executive Vice President his is not about my recent travels to Israel evaluating significant program priorities of the Jewish Agency. Nor is this about a whirlwind 36 hour visit I made to Minsk with Federation President David Brand during which we met with elderly pensioners who rely on our philanthropy for their regular deliveries of food packages. Actually, this is about a recent visit I made to New Orleans and all I learned about Tidewater, albeit nearly 2,000 miles away. Under the auspices of the Council of Jewish Mark L. Goldstein Federations, our national "association," I was in New Orleans for a Conference of Jewish Federation Executive Directors. These gatherings are a marvelous opportunity to network and consult with other federation executives, exchange information, share solutions, and contemplate trends in philanthropy and Jewish community priorities. Typically, executives come to these conferences looking for answers to key issues in their communities. During the sessions, meals, and breaks, we share experiences seeking the collective wisdom of our colleagues and national leadership and consultants. Each year at these conferences I grow more appreciative of the strengths of our Tidewater Jewish Community. Some communities are struggling with an agency system which is out of control. Not in Tidewater. Our Jewish communal agencies work cooperatively. Jewish Family Service and the Hebrew Academy have a special cooperative program for school counseling. The Jewish Community Center and JFS are expanding their partnership on serving Jews with special needs in the summer day camp. All Jewish educators and teachers work with the Federation's Jewish Educatiop Council on teacher training and professional development. The words "turf" and "competition" are not used when we describe our agency system. This does not stop with our agencies. Our Federation enjoys a very strong, positive relationship with synagogue leadership and the Hampton Roads Board of Rabbis. In times of crises and tragedy, our Federation promotes synagogue attendance as an effective way for our community to become expressive. The Jewish Education Council's Teen Study Program is fully supported by all congregations and welcomes the input of the Hampton Roads Board of Rabbis. Every synagogue has joined the Israel at 50 Consortium and participates in the Simon Family Passport to Israel program. Other communities are envious of these relationships. While some community executives complain about the widening gulf between the "Jewish right" and the "Jewish left," we have fine examples of cooperation and respect in Tidewater. The mikve, housed at B'nai Israel, is open to all rabbis for ritual use. At the Hebrew Academy, the philosophy of a "community" school is extolled in the open dialogue and discussion by the board and its committees always finding appropriate compromise to enable the comfort level of all Jews. Attend the annual Chumash or Siddur presentations and see Orthodox, Conservative and Reform rabbis proudly participating. Rabbis in Tidewater talk to each other, certainly not without disagreements, but never without respect. We all had the same concerns about our campaigns and fundraising: there is never enough funds to meet all the needs. But Tidewater's experience is, here again, unique. During the last five years our annual campaign has grown from $2.9 million to approximately $3.6 million. Our Tidewater Jewish Foundation has seen its assets grow from $9 million to nearly $40 million. Our community is fortunate to have a strong cadre of volunteers and professionals dedicated to growing our collective fundraising efforts. Our Foundation has achieved true "community foundation" status welcoming nearly every synagogue and agency under its structure. We set politics and turf aside and focus on the real issues: the recipients of the services who ultimately benefit from our philanthropy. In other cities, agencies are being slaughtered by the fierce competition in the health care arena. It is no less competitive in Tidewater, but our agencies CONTINUED ON PAGE 21 Livu m Oo "n (D (ID ,,,,,& It me T Sa,,d Rm IC, mw ASub AFr A Samllw