Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Jewish Hesed Center

The Joint (Joint Distribution Committee)

Because the news leaked out through synagogue channels that I was going to Georgia, I got a call from a Sam Horotwitz who does work in New York with the Jewish Federation about the Hesed Eliyah in Tblisi run by the Joint Distribution Committee. He wondered if I would like to make contact and see about this organization. Finally this week I did, after several canceled meetings. There are many displaced persons in Georgia because of various conflicts. Some of these are Jews. And this Chesed center provides a pre-school and regular Jewish school for the children of these families plus a center for adults in need. Part of their work is to help train adults for careers and occupations.

I went there thinking perhaps there was something I could do to link them with resources in Nebraska and Lincoln. Their building was nice—clear, relatively new, well maintained. The director of their school and cultural events spoke with me for a while. She only speaks Russian. And, I think she was not sure why I was there and what I could offer them. So, in spite of good intentions, I have to agree with her. Like an organization offering help to poor displaced people, the organization could use financial help. Beyond that, I don’t see much opportunity for us in Lincoln.

I did meet the wife of the chief rabbi (I think that is what he is) and do plan to go to services probably on a Friday. Saturday they start at 7 at the sephardi shul and that is a bit early for me since it is a trek to get there.

Pictures: the building and a delightful group of pre-school kids who are there from 8 to 3. Long day for them.

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