JDC, partners deliver 10 tons of matzah in former Soviet Union

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JDC) — The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee has provided Jews in the former Soviet Union with a total of at least 10 tons of matzah ahead of Passover, the organization said.

Delivered in more than 50,000 boxes containing the cracker made from unleavened dough that Jews consume during the holiday, the committee, also known as the Joint and JDC, has also organized through its various branches and with partners volunteer activities, Seder meals, matzah-baking classes, and concerts mark Jewish Festival of Freedom, JDC said in a statement earlier this week.

The delivery of matzah from Kaliningrad near Lithuania to the farthest eastern reaches of Russia is part of an annual partnership between JDC and other groups assisting Jews in the former Soviet space, including the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, or Claims Conference, and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.

Dozens of volunteers will deliver additional holiday packages and visit homebound elderly as part of JDC’s annual Passover preparation, according to the statement.

“The Jews of the former Soviet Union, whose Jewish identity was almost extinguished, are now observing Passover with enormous vigor, innovative cultural fare, and a focus on ensuring their neediest fellow Jews share in the holiday,” said David Schizer, CEO of JDC.

Among the recipients of holiday packages is Nadya B., a 65-year-old in Ukraine with severe heart disease living on a pension of $44 per month, JDC wrote. The food and medicine support she receives through the Food and Medicine Lifeline program of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. It is delivered by the JDC’s social welfare center in Odessa, where dozens of Jewish seniors in similar circumstances to Nadya will gather to create a community and to celebrate a Seder meal.

The center is part of JDC’s network of offices belonging to the Hesed organization, whose name in Hebrew means “virtue” or “charity.”

The eve of the Passover holiday, when countless Jews have traditional seder dinners, this year falls on April 10.

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