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A message from Barry Shrage

March 19, 2014—
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read this recent front-page story from The Boston Globe about the Ukraine crisis and Boston’s connection to the Jewish community in Dnepropetrovsk (Dnep). In response to the current crisis, CJP has committed $100,000 in humanitarian support for the people of Ukraine, with $23,000 earmarked for Dnep.

At CJP, our deep connection with Dnep goes back more than 22 years, to when the Iron Curtain fell. At that time, we recognized a unique and very important historic opportunity. Millions of Jews had lived under terrible conditions of anti-Semitism, job discrimination and a nearly successful attempt to eradicate Jewish religion and culture in the Former Soviet Union.

At the same time, we saw a movement led by Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky in Dnepepretrosk(Dnep), to restore Jewish life and learning to the people. I believed that the transformation of Soviet Jewry was happening at the leading edge of Jewish history, and we in Boston understoodthat it would be amazing to participate in restoring Jewish life there. What an incredible model for our children, to see people who had been completely denied any knowledge of Judaism, but who had a tremendous drive to celebrate and preserve their heritage.

CJP, along with the JCRC, began to build relationships and expand our support during this once-in-a-generation opportunity for revival and renewal. Today, Dnep is home to a state of the art Jewish community center, which houses a synagogue and ritual bath, a museum, kosher restaurants, a bookstore and classroom space. CJP supports essential services for elderly Holocaust survivors; we’ve launched a Big Brother Big Sister program, and we’ve established critical medical services through the Corky Ribakoff Women’s Clinic and the Dnepropetrovsk Pediatric Clinic. Through CJP, Boston’s philanthropists and doctors have provided many medical firsts in Dnep, including vaccinations to the community, ultrasound machines and mammography machines.

I hope you are proud of what we’ve achieved so far, and that you will continue to stand with our Jewish family in Ukraine during this time of need.

Learn more about how you can help.