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Project Spotlight: Hesed Centers

Zoya (photo: JDC/Vladimir Shraga)

In Hebrew, hesed (or chesed) means lovingkindness, and offering this kind of care to those in need is one of the central tenets of Judaism. Throughout the former Soviet Union, Fellowship-supported Hesed Centers, a network of offices offering social services, have been providing lifesaving care to Jewish communities in need for years.

Care Is the Best Medicine for the Lonely Elderly

Zoya, now 83, was only 8 years old when World War II soldiers arrived in Ukraine. She was forced to flee, along with her family, to Kazakhstan, enduring years of despair and famine. Eventually, they settled in Russia, where Zoya lives today.

Years ago Zoya became a widow, and now she is facing her final years alone. Today, she suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney disease.

Her apartment needs many repairs, too. Last summer, a boiler burst in the basement, and the hot water and steam caused a lot of damage to Zoya’s ground-floor apartment. The tiles on the ceiling began to peel; Zoya fears they will fall and injure her.

Zoya has a son who lives nearby and helps her when he can, but he struggles to make ends meet and cannot offer much financial assistance to his elderly mother.

The Fellowship is a huge happiness for me!”

When she was in better health, Zoya used to volunteer at the local Fellowship-sponsored Hesed center. Today, The Fellowship brings aid to Zoya, as she can no longer physically volunteer and now needs our care.

Thanks to The Fellowship, Zoya receives nutritional assistance and homecare. Because of her health problems, she struggles to take care of her apartment. Her many medicine containers are spread across her kitchen table, and she feels overwhelmed by all her health issues. Thankfully, her Fellowship homecare worker not only makes sure she takes her daily medicines, but also helps clean her apartment.  

The Fellowship is a huge happiness for me,” says Zoya, holding back tears. She feels so relieved now that she can rely on The Fellowship!

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