WJR: Bringing Help and Hope

On May 14th, 2008, World Jewish Relief’s (WJR) signature program Mission Impossible made it to Kishinev, Moldova. For only the second time, an 11-member team drove all the way from London to Kishinev, covering over 3000 kilometers in just four days, in order to donate two Renault mini-vans for use in welfare programs in the periphery Jewish communities in Tiraspol and Rybnitsa. Upon arrival in Moldova, the group was greeted by a large ceremony hosted by the welfare organization Hesed and NES Jewish Family Services, welcoming them to the country and expressing thanks for their generosity. Afterwards, the team spent four days going on home visits and attending various programs, including after school clubs, a football practice session with local Maccabi team and a meeting with Jewish business leaders and Kishinev Jacobs Jewish Campus Board members.

One of the highlights of the visit was the Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat program in the KJJC organized by students from the local Hillel. Together with families and community members, young and old, WJR and the Jewish community of Moldova greeted the light of Shabbat and created warmth that is bound to last for a long time.

The team’s impressions are best summed up in their own words. Participant Amanda Lee, for example, wrote: “It is incredible to see such vitality and energy from young, old, community programs, Yiddish club and to see the truly inspirational work that you are doing… I think the Kishinev community is a model for other communities around the world and Kol Ha’Kavod to you all.”

John Chody, another group member, echoed a similar sentiment, saying “Thank you for such a warm welcome. I am so pleased that we came. If we have helped, then thank you for giving us the opportunity. May you continue in health and strength! Zayt gezunt!”

The member of Mission Impossible included: Maurice Bitton, Roz Bluestone, Eric Brookes, John Chody, Daniel Drukarz, Siobhan Ezra, Joe Gerrard, Sarah Holder, Jay Isow, Amanda Lee, Jimmy Strauss, and Jeremy Tarn.

WJR assistance during the last four years of collaboration with the Jewish community of Moldova exceeded $2 mln. Clara, mother of a 5-year old Irina, JFS client, said on behalf of the group of families who received WJR help: «Thanks to you my child has clothes and shoes, and this wonderful minibus picks her to the KJJC. She does not feel outcast or isolated”.