This year there was an explosion of interest in B'nai TELEM and the program grew from four to ten participating synagogues with over 350 students. With this many participants, B’nai TELEM needed new and dynamic project ideas. The JCRC’s Committee for Post-Soviet Jewry supports many social programs in Dnepropetrovsk (Dnepro), Ukraine, and was looking for fresh ideas to engage more volunteers. One of these new ideas provided a unique opportunity for students from Congregation Beth El of Sudbury and Temple Beth Emunah of Brockton to participate in an international service experience and to provide much needed aid to people in Dnepro.
B'nai TELEM students worked in pairs to create warm and colorful fleece blankets that were sent to 30 children living in an orphanage in Dnepro and to seniors in need. The students also wrote letters that were translated into Russian to accompany the blankets. "I'm really happy to know that I'm helping keep an older person warm through the winter who really needs it," said a student from Congregation Beth El as he put the finishing touches on his blanket.
Judy Patkin, Executive Director of Action for Post-Soviet Jewry, who helped to facilitate the project, agreed, saying that, "It is exciting to have youngsters involved in helping our dear pensioners in Ukraine who live under such difficult conditions. The blankets they make are certainly a welcome gift for someone without adequate heat this winter."
Yasher koach, a job very well done, to both synagogues for making a difference in people's lives in such a meaningful way! For more information on this and other exciting B'nai TELEM projects, please contact B'nai TELEM coordinator Emily Reichman.