COMMUNITY R E P O R T
(1996-2000)


The regeneration of the Jewish community in Ukraine began in the end of 1987-- beginning of 1988, after 70 years interval. At the present time the Jewish life is presented in more than 80 cities by nearly 250 organizations and communities that are united into 3 structures: Va'ad of Ukraine (210), Jewish Council of Ukraine (150), and the Union of Jewish religious communities of Ukraine (74). Many organizations and communities participate in the activities of all three mentioned structures.
The Jewish community of Ukraine counts today nearly 550 thousand of Jews and their families members in more than 130 cities (this estimation is given accordingly to Israel "The Law of Return"). For the last five years about 200 thousand of Jews have emigrated from Ukraine (to Israel - 110 thousand; to the USA - 70 thousand). The total number of Jews emigrated since 1989 is more than 300 thousand (to Israel - more than 170 thousand; to the USA - more than 100 thousand). The natural decrease of the Jewish population in Ukraine for the mentioned period approached 50 thousand, due to the exceeding of the death-rate above the birth-rate.
Having proclaimed the independence in 1991, Ukraine chose an uneasy way of democratic transformations, social-economical reforms, renounced the ideological heritage of the soviet regime, including the State and administrative Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism. Upon the declaration of the democratic policy, a number of legislative acts were approved in defense of national minorities' interests and for providing the legislative conditions for the development of national cultures, education and religions.
All the main Jewish "umbrella" organizations are officially recognized by the authorities of Ukraine; cooperate in a number of programmes with the State ministries and departments. Representatives of the Jewish organizations often attend meetings at different State levels, including the highest level. National communities do not receive for the present any real and concrete help from the State; there is not the law on restitution; however this is explainable by the difficult economical conditions and rather complicated internal political situation in Ukraine.
The interrelations between the main Jewish structures of Ukraine and the permanent representations of the Jewish Agency, the JDC and the Israel Foundation for Culture and Education in Diaspora in Ukraine mainly are normal and working, but not simple sometimes.
The main achievement of the Jewish community of Ukraine for the last five years is creation of the permanent working professional communal structures in all the fields of the Jewish life: social defense and education, culture and religion, Jewish studies and work with the youth, repatriation and preservation of the Jewish heritage, information, etc. For five years period all the mentioned programmes as well as many others, from separate amateur actions, have turned out to be a serious professional work. All current professional structures render their services to the Jews of Ukraine mainly free of charge.
The partners of Va'ad of Ukraine in creation and support for the professional services were and still are the European and the World Jewish Congresses, the JDC, the Israel Foundation for Culture and Education in Diaspora, the L.A.Pincus Fund, Rich Foundation, Kamings Foundation, Foundation in Support of Jewish Communities' Development, the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, the Jewish Foundation for Christian Rescuers, ICRDJC "Tkhiya", the JCU, etc.

>The "Charity" programme.
The programme was created in 1992. Thanks to the organizational and methodical assistance of the Co-ordinational "Charity" Centre in 1993 the social and patronage services were organized in two cities for 80 neediers; in 1994 - in 16 cities for 948 neediers. Since December of 1995 the programme has been running in 33 cities of Ukraine and render its services to 1238 people who need the patronage help. For the present 148 professional workers trained at the seminars participate in the programme. The local "Charity" Centres distribute different kinds of humanitarian aids (food, clothes, medicines, money) from the JDC (nearly 50 thousand in 1995), as well as from "Tkhiya" and other religious organizations. Thus, for the last winter, the financial support was provided for 3000 extremely needing Jews of Ukraine. During 1996 - 2000 the Va'ad of Ukraine intends to extend the "Charity" programme to 40- 50 more cities of Ukraine.
According to the data of the Co-ordinational Centre, for the present nearly 50 thousand of Jewish in Ukraine need different kinds of social aid, but only 20 thousand of cases have been examined and registered by the "Charity" services.

>Educational programme.
In 1991 there were about 20 Sunday schools and 2 daily schools acting in Ukraine; by the end of 1995 - nearly 70 Sunday schools, 14 daily, about 10 yeshivas, 10 nursery schools, 90 ulpans (Hebrew studies). More than 20 thousand of students attend them, nearly 500 teachers work there, including more than 300 teachers of Jewish subjects.
The first project of the Centre for Jewish Education in Ukraine appeared in 1991, but its realization was delayed for two years due to lack of financing. The Centre was created in 1993, with organizational support of the Ministry of Education of Ukraine. At the present time nearly 30 best teachers-methodologists of Ukraine work there. The main activities of the Centre are: organization and carrying out the educational seminars for the Jewish schools' teachers on Hebrew, Yiddish, History and Traditions; special seminars to the holidays; permanent methodical assistance to the Jewish schools, preparation and publishing the educational and methodical supplies. The Centre has a library and all necessary equipment.
In 1991 - 1993 the Centre took part in the seminars of the Jewish Agency; in 1994 the Centre prepared and carried out 6 seminars (270 participants), including one in Israel (25 participants); in 1995 - 7 seminars (490 participants).
Two educational establishments have been created at the Centre and work now:
since September of 1993 - the Jewish Studies Department of the International Solomon University (45 students at three courses), and since the beginning of 1995 - two years College for training the teachers of Jewish subjects (18 students).
Since September of 1996 we intend to recruit one more group to the Jewish Studies Department (20 people), two groups for the College (40); to create one more College (20).
The financial support for Sunday schools (in 1994 - 1995 - 12 schools).
The idea and active participation in recruitment candidates to "Na'ale" programmes of studies in Israel.

>"Judaic" (Jewish studies) programme.
In autumn of 1993 the Scientific - Researcher Centre was created as well as the Association of Judaic of Ukraine at it. Those two organizations united nearly 100 professional scientists and amateur researchers in the field of Jewish culture, history and religion, that is practically all researchers in the sphere of Judaic of Ukraine. Since 1992 the annual scientific conferences have been carried out in Kiev, attended by Ukrainian professionals as well as foreign guests. Upon the results of conferences the collections of materials have been published.
The programme consists of 20 projects: archival, sociological and politological (including monitoring of Anti-Semitism); publishing work (6 books were prepared and published, a literary-publicistic miscellany "Yegupetz" began to come out); educational (lectures, annual international seminars).

>Youth programmes.
The main youth programme, that has a purpose to introduce the youth to the Jewish tradition, is summer camps for studies and relaxation. In 1991 the camp was organized in cooperation with the Jewish Agency; in 1992 - 1993 - young people was directed to the camps organized by the Jewish Agency. In 1994 - 1995 Va'ad of Ukraine worked out the programme and carried out the camps "Shorashim" (The Roots And The Future Of Ukrainian Jews) in Karpaty for 418 young ladies and gentlemen from 26 cities of Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus; as well as 4 training seminars for the tutors (36 participants).
During the mentioned period the Va'ad of Ukraine provided support for different projects of youth clubs ("Makor" and others), youth and sport organizations ("Beitar", "Kidma", "Makkaby", "Ha-Tikwa"), youth newspapers ("Noar", "Mabat Ha-Noar").

>Training programme for communal leaders.
In 1991 - 1993 Va'ad of Ukraine participated in joint training programme for Jewish leaders (with Va'ad of CIS and the Jewish Agency). In 1994 Va'ad of Ukraine worked out and accomplished its own original training programme for communal leaders. Four preparatory seminars and one final were carried out. The programme included lectures, workshops, discussions, psychological training, working out and defense the communal projects; the best 10 of them received financing for their realization. 126 Jewish activists from 65 cities of Ukraine participated in those seminars. We intend to continue the programme in 1996, the final stage - to be carried out in cooperation with the EJC.

>Committee of Repatriation.
CR was created in January of 1991 by Va'ad of Ukraine and ICRDJC "Tkhiya" as an inter-regional professional structure for consultative assistance to people intending to leave for Israel. In 1992 CR was reorganized into Committees of Repatriation in different states. The professional consultants, experts, psychologists trained at the seminars in CIS and Israel by professionals form Israel Ministries and Departments, work at the CR.
In 1993 - 45 consultants in 30 cities of Ukraine carried out 40 thousand of consultations; in 1994 - 61 consultants in 46 cities, more than 52 thousand of consultations; in 1995 (9 months) - 72 consultants in 52 cities, more than 40 thousand of consultations.
The CR provides consultations on all items of Aliya and Absorption, assistance to the lonely repatriates in Israel, forwarding repatriates by the ship from Odessa to Haifa and escorting them.

The programme "Preservation of the Jewish heritage".
The problem of return the Jewish communal properties is periodically being discussed with the State authorities, representatives of different parties and national communities. The agreement about joint work on restitution has been signed with the WJC and the JCU.
30 synagogues were returned to the religious communities. 18 Rabbies carry out their activities in them (all - foreign).
In 1993 the Committee of preservation of the Jewish heritage was created. The Committee carries out a number of projects: description and inventorying the former Jewish properties; the list counts 726 objects, 243 out of them are entirely described in 10 regions of Ukraine. Committee created archives of the documents and photo-documents.
The Committee participates in the projects of the Jewish University (Jerusalem) on description of the synagogues of Ukraine as objects of art and history, creating the Guide over the Jewish places in Ukraine; participates in the expeditions.
The preparatory work has been carried out with the Ministry of Culture and the Main Archives on the return the Torah scrolls that are now in the archives and museums of Ukraine. The projects of agreements and other documents have been worked out.

>The programme "Righteous persons".
Va'ad of Ukraine realizes the programme of Va'ad of CIS "Righteous persons". The programme provides the grants for the Christian rescuers who saved the Jews during the Second World War. The programme has been carried out in 7 states of the CIS and Baltic since 1992. In 1992 - 100 rescuers (48 in Ukraine); in 1993 105 (53 in Ukraine); in 1994 - 128 (73); in 1995 - 151 (78).
Also, the research work is carried out in search of the unknown rescuers, drawing up the documents, awarding the Diplomas of the Yad Va Shem.

>Mass media.
15 Jewish newspapers (mainly - monthly, the total circulation is nearly 50 thousand), languages - Ukrainian, Russian, Yiddish.
In April of 1992 the republican TV programme "Menorah" was created and worked for 2 years. Since October of 1992 - another republican TV programme "Yakhad"; 2 regional (in Chernovtsy and Lvov) radio programmes and 2 regional (in Kharkov and Kremenchug) TV programmes.

>Cultural programmes.
The union of the Jewish Music and Theatre Ensembles "Kinor" was created and supported. Now it counts more than 60 groups, and arranges the tours around the cities of Ukraine. In 1994 - 1995 - 60 concerts, more than 20 thousand of spectators.
Organization and carrying out the annual Ukrainian Festival of Jewish Art "Ha-Tikwa". (1995 - 52 groups from 27 cities of Ukraine, 492 participants, 13 Laureates).
Since October of 1994 the work has been carried out on the creating the animated cartoon "Alef - Bet" (24 issues). This film could become, first of all, a guide for learning Hebrew. Every issue is a Jewish tale, parable, anecdote, devoted to one of the letters of the Hebrew ABC. Production of three issues is accomplished.

>Compensations to the former
Ghetto and Concentration camps' prisoners.
In 1993 Germany allotted to Ukraine and Moldova 400 million DM for the compensation to the former prisoners of the Ghettos and Concentration camps and for "Ostarbaiters". In the same 1993 in Ukraine the "Foundation for inter-understanding and reconciliation", the aim of the Foundation is to organize payments. 652,500 people (2,985 Jews) aspired to the compensations, that were allotted to 337,910 candidates. We face big problems with drawing up the documents and finding the evidences. The first payments were done in May of 1994. The maximum compensation is 1000 DM (for juvenile prisoners of the Ghettoes and Concentration camps); the rest of prisoners receive 900 DM; "Ostarbaiters" - 450 - 600 DM. By October of 1995 - 295,469 people received compensations (including 2,500 Jews).

>Support for creating and running on
the republican organizations.
For five years Va'ad of Ukraine have rendered organizational, administrative and financial assistance to: the Association of the Humanist Judaism of Ukraine (October of 1992, more than 400 participants, regional branches in 9 regions of Ukraine); the Association "Makkabi - Ukraine" (September of 1994, 2,000 participants in 15 regions of Ukraine); the Association of the Ghettoes and Concentration Camps' Prisoners (April of 1993).

>Anti-Semitism in Ukraine.
For the last five years anti-Semitism in Ukraine has been changed seriously. Instead of its administrative form (limitation in employment and admitting to studies), and state form (anti-Zionistic and anti-Israel campaign for many years), after a period of calm in 1990 - 1991, the new forms of anti-Semitism arose: political, publicistic, sometimes with an economical underlying cause.
The number of anti-Semitic publications in 5 - 6 newspapers (mostly in West Ukraine) increased from 20 - 30 in 1992 towards 150 - 200 in 1994 - 1995. The number of other displays of anti-Semitism - actions of vandalism, demonstrations, mass-meetings and provocations - is insignificant, at the level of European states. Two or three not very numerous parties (less than 1 per cent of the Ukrainian parliament) use directly or indirectly the anti-Semitic demagogy.
Nevertheless, for lack of stability and definition in social-economical and political situation in Ukraine, anti-Semitism and other displays of xenophobia become a much greater potential danger than in other states of Europe.

The main actions in 1991 - 1995.
The Conferences of the Jewish organizations and communities of Ukraine (January of 1991, April of 1992, April of 1995).
The International Seminar "Jewish civilization and Jewish thought" (August of 1993, 1994, 1995).
The International Conference of the Jewish women (May of 1994).
The Conference of the Jewish Schools' Teachers of Ukraine (June of 1993).
The International Conference on the Jewish Studies (November of 1993, December of 1994, August of 1995).
The Ukrainian Festival of Jewish Art (November of 1994 - May of 1995).
The Interstate Conference of the Jewish Organizations and Communities of the CIS (June of 1995).

The main problems of the Jewish community
of Ukraine.
The insufficiency of financial support; the number of professional workers is not sufficient; the ways of self-organization have not been worked out. There are also strong outer factors (the State; Israeli, American and international Jewish organizations), that complicate and retard the consolidation process in destroyed and reviving Jewish community of Ukraine.

Chairman of the Vaad of Ukraine Joseph Zissels