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Project Spotlight: High Holy Days Help in the Former Soviet Union

Project Spotlight: Oleg_HHD (photo: JDC)

The High Holy Days – which begin with Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and conclude with Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) – is the most sacred time on the Jewish calendar, marked by special services, prayers, and meals. But for those living in poverty, this 10-day holiday is more about survival than sacred celebration.

This is why The Fellowship offers extra assistance to impoverished Jews in the former Soviet Union (FSU) in the weeks leading up to the High Holy Days, ensuring that these needy children, families, and elderly are able to observe these days with dignity and undivided devotion. 

Holiday Gifts for a Family in Need

Oleg, 8, is a sweet, but shy boy who struggles to make friends. He lives in Ukraine with his mother, Tatiana, who is raising Oleg alone after his father abandoned the family years ago.

With no support from Oleg’s father, Tatiana has to work two jobs to make ends meet. She works a night shift at a bread factory and as a cleaning woman during the day, but the family stills struggles financially.

Oleg rarely sees his mother because she is always working, and he feels lonely and rarely smiles. Recently, however, he began attending a Fellowship-sponsored Sunday school, where, in addition to learning Jewish traditions, Oleg has started to make friends with other children his age.

Because the family is barely surviving, Oleg’s mother can’t give her son special holiday treats to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. The Fellowship put a smile on Oleg’s face when we gave him a Rosh Hashanah holiday set.

“I adore Rosh Hashanah,” Oleg said, beaming. “It’s such a bright and happy holiday.”

“I’ve never seen my son so happy,” said Oleg’s mother, Tatiana, “The Fellowship is a real help to us.”

Learn how you can help feed the hungry during the High Holy Days

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