Renewal - Reconnecting Soviet Jewry to the Soviet People: A Decade of American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (AJJDC) Activities in the Former Soviet Union 1988-1998 by Anita Weiner (Paperback, 2003)
Seven decades of severe Soviet cultural-religious suppression and two world wars had isolated and demolished the once flourishing Jewish communities behind the Iron Curtain. When the era of Glasst and Perestroika presented an opportunity for world Jewry to reestablish its lost ties with the three of four million Jews still living throughout the former Soviet Republics, it was unkwn whether there was any hope for some kind of Jewish community renewal. The story of how the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, a voluntary, humanitarian organization supported by American Jewry, made its entry into the isolated, poverty-stricken world, is a dramatic one. Beginning with only a few highly motivated and experienced workers, contact was made through music, literature, food packages, and religious holiday celebrations. Local Jewish leadership emerged and was encouraged. Plans for community development through social, religious, educational and welfare services were made and implemented. With the guidance of AJJDC and its dedicated community workers came rehabilitation and renewal.
Anita Weiner is Retired; Former faculty member, Haifa University School of Social Work.