L'Dor V'Dor: Action-PSJ's Legacy and Progress
For five decades, Action-PSJ has been dedicated to supporting and uplifting vulnerable Jews in Ukraine. Our journey is one of compassion, resilience, and impact as we’ve evolved to meet the ever-changing challenges faced by the communities we serve. Explore the milestones that have shaped our mission, and join us as we continue to make a difference for future generations.
The Birth of Advocacy for Soviet Jewry
In 1974, Boston witnessed the inception of Action for Soviet Jewry, a beacon of hope for Jewish individuals in the Soviet Union. Amidst the challenges and curtailment of their religious freedoms, this grassroots movement emerged, driven by a profound sense of solidarity. With initiatives like the Medical Mobilization and the travelers program, thousands received essential supplies and medicine, directly from the heart of Boston to the depths of Russia.
Expanding Horizons and Deepening Impact
The 1980s marked a decade of growth for ASJ, extending its influence both nationally and globally. Key milestones included:
- The establishment of the Madrid Office in honor of Congressman Robert Drinan.
- Funding visits for Jewish professionals from Boston to meet with Refuseniks, amplifying their voices.
- Sponsoring Avital Sharansky’s advocacy trips, capturing her journey on film to raise global awareness.
- The monumental “March on Washington for Soviet Jewry” in 1987, where ASJ showcased its unwavering commitment, rallying supporters to spotlight the plight of Soviet Jews.
Rebuilding Jewish Life in Post-Soviet States
Post the Soviet Union’s collapse, ASJ evolved into “Action for Post-Soviet Jewry” in 1994, reflecting a renewed dedication to rejuvenate Jewish life. This transformation was inspired by extensive visits to Dnipro, Ukraine, emphasizing care for the elderly Jewish community.
Expanding the Reach of Humanitarian Aid
The new millennium saw Action-PSJ’s initiatives touching lives across 20 communities in four countries. Programs like “Adopt a Bubbe and Zayde,” “Warm Houses,” “Eye Glass Clinic,” and “Used Clothing Shipments” underscored Action-PSJ’s commitment to enriching the lives of elderly Jews.
Responding to Crisis with Compassion
The invasion of Crimea brought challenges, but Action-PSJ responded with resilience, expanding its aid to internally displaced individuals. Grants were provided to help people replace essentials lost during the conflict.
Adapting and Thriving Amidst Global Challenges
he onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 marked a pivotal shift for Action-PSJ. With the appointment of its first full-time Executive Director, the organization swiftly transitioned its approach, emphasizing phone check-ins and financial stipends. The used clothing initiative evolved into shipments of Personal Protective Equipment and hygiene items. The 2022 Russian invasion saw Action-PSJ further intensifying its efforts, providing frontline medical assistance and supporting displaced individuals. Initiatives like the telehealth project, in collaboration with the Jewish Medical Center of Dnipro, showcased Action-PSJ’s adaptability and commitment.
Celebrating Five Decades of Impact
As Action-PSJ commemorates 50 years of service, it stands as a testament to hope, resilience, and unwavering support. Through the decades, Action-PSJ has been a beacon, safeguarding Jewish history, creating safe Jewish spaces, and directly enhancing the lives of countless vulnerable individuals.
Our Vision for a Better Tomorrow
To strengthen the lives of resilient Jews in the former Soviet states who survived the unimaginable and continue to be a beacon of light to us all.
Our Guiding Mission
Strengthening Lives -Providing Essential Aid
Strengthen the renewal of Jewish life in the former Soviet states through humanitarian efforts enabled by meaningful engagement with Jewish communities and partners in North America. Our primary focus is providing food, medicine, clothing, and other assistance to impoverished Jewish people where needed, working in 20 communities, serving over 2000 people each year.
Fulfilling the Mission would mean:
Past Milestones, Future Promises: The Action-PSJ Journey
By Judy Patkin
After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Action for Post-Soviet Jewry (APSJ) began its work in Ukraine. APSJ’s first trip to Dnipropetrovsk was in 1993, the year after the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) decided to partner with the Jewish community there as part of the Kehillah Project of the National Conference for Soviet Jews.
We met Rabbi Shmuel and Chany Kaminezki, who represented the only Jewish organization, and began to meet other Jews who lived in Dnipropetrovsk. There were around 70,000 Jews in the city, and few had emigrated because the city was “closed” during Soviet times due to
the manufacture of ballistic missiles. The city was heavily involved in manufacturing, as seen by the black smoke rising from factories on both sides of the Dniepr River.
By Debbie Kardon
As I transition into the role of the first full-time Executive Director of Action-PSJ, I am humbled by the trust placed in me to lead this incredible organization and carry forward the legacy of our founding Executive Director, Judy Patkin. Building upon the experiences and knowledge gained while working alongside Judy, I am excited to embark on this new chapter in Action-PSJ’s journey.
I am deeply committed to upholding the values and principles that have guided our organization since its inception. Judy’s mentorship has instilled in me a strong belief in putting relationships and the unique needs of aging adults at the forefront of our mission. As the first full-time Executive Director, I am dedicated to nurturing these values, fostering a culture of empathy, and ensuring that our beneficiaries receive the highest level of care and support.