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From our origins until today

Comfort, O comfort My people...

.. this is not only our motto but G-d's calling and desire for each person that we are in contact with in His work.

The word 'Chevra' is the Hebrew word for a society or a company of friends. It is pronounced 'Hevra' (the H is guttural). G-d has called us as a network of friends to accomplish this task and we realize that without His help and the friends that He has given us this could never be achieved. Our prayer is that G-d will stir your heart to respond to His desires for His people, and that you will be moved with compassion for this cause.

Countries where Chevra's help has reached:
Poland, Israel, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Abkhasia, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Siberia and the Far East, Ethiopia ...

OUR BEGINNINGS


In 1984 this network had its beginnings with a small group of young students in Krakow, Poland, whose hearts were stirred to help elderly Jews in their own city.

Why the Jewish people? A this time, Poland's history was slowly opening up to the reality of what truly happened during World War II. We were taught in school that it was millions of only Polish people that perished, but we realized that there were also millions of Jews who were exterminated during this War. The unbelievable number of Jews who perished so cruelly pierced our hearts. We began to comfort the survivors, those who were continually haunted by the memories of the past. By helping them in practical ways we wanted them to see and feel that G-d had not forgotten about them and that someone did care.

 
JEWS IN SOVIET TERRITORY

MemorialAnother major discovery for us was that just across our border, several hundred miles away, millions of Jews were still living in the Soviet Union, compared to the small minority that remained in Poland. We desired to reach these Jews across the border but the immediate problem was that travel to the Soviet state was severely restricted. The only possible means of entry was to join officially sanctioned organized tours. Several men from our group went on these tours and there they met our first Jewish friends in the Soviet territory.

From them we had first hand information of the deplorable conditions that they were living under. At this time for anyone to leave the Soviet Union was basically impossible. Initially, we were able to offer minimal help, but only after the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 was any significant assistance possible. At this time the first transport of humanitarian aid was sent to the Ukraine and stored in a friend's basement.

From that day on, a network began to develop, one that would help to meet the needs of hundreds of thousands of Jewish people across the former Soviet Union. The network consisted of workers, essential contacts, equipment, storage facilities, buses and trucks, all that was needed to alleviate the suffering of the Jew.

LIVING CONDITIONS TODAY

HouseThe dramatic changes in the Former Soviet Union (FSU) countries have increased the suffering of the Jews, leaving them without the basic necessities of life. The vast majority of them live on the verge of poverty. Social services and benefits have been scaled down or phased out completely. Refugees, the elderly, pensioners (including many Holocaust and Ghetto survivors), widows and orphans are particularly hit hard by the new social realities. Workers and pensioners often have not been paid for months. They have no money and can afford only one hot meal every two or three days. Winter months are especially difficult and usually thousands depend on humanitarian help just to survive.
Conditions

The health status of the people in the FSU is deteriorating. Primary health care facilities often have little equipment to deal with basic health care, and not enough attention is given to the victims caused by tragedies such as Chernobyl. Financial help from the social structures in the FSU is minimal or doesn't exist.

Today Chevra's wide-ranging programs include regular food aid distribution, running soup kitchens, help for orphanages, medical help and sanatorium treatment for Holocaust and Ghetto survivors. Chevra has also been involved in cultural activities with the aim of cultivating a better understanding and appreciation of the Jewish culture as well as reviving the Jewish tradition. They organize and sponsor musical concerts in Poland (together with The Polish-Israel Friendship Society) and the FSU countries,  mainly during traditional Jewish festivals.

RIGHTEOUS AMONG THE NATIONS

Chevra also remembers and honors the 'Righteous Among the Nations' (the men and women who risked their lives to save the lives of Jews during the time of the Nazi Holocaust). These people are helped with food packages, at soup kitchens or with whatever assistance they need.

What started as little more than a dream, a clear vision of purpose from G-d and a small group of dedicated volunteers, has now become a practical source of aid and comfort - not only for Jews, but also for many nations.
 
 
 
 

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