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


The Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities (VAAD) of Ukraine was created on January 14 1991 and registered by the Justice Ministry of Ukraine. 265 organizations from 94 cities of Ukraine come under the VAAD, including 63 religious communities, 56 city communities, 15 social structures, 17 Jewish schools, 55 cultural organizations, 10 associations of prisoners of ghettoes and concentration camps, 19 youth organizations, as well as 5 associated member organizations.
The Association is a part of interstate Jewish Confederation - the VAAD (CIS), the European Council of Jewish Communities, the European and Eurasian Jewish Congresses, the founder of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine.

1. POLITICAL SITUATION IN UKRAINE

During the last five years Ukraine continues its hard way to democracy and civilized society. The development of young democracy have been marked by serious problems and shortcomings, which were predetermined by the lack of serious social-economical reforms, corruption of the officials, big owners struggling for the markets etc.
But at the same time we should mention a number of consecutively positive steps made by Ukraine, despite all political and economical problems: voluntary rejection of nuclear weapon, peace treaty with states-neighbours, inter-ethnical peace and the absence of inter-religious conflicts. As a matter of fact, conflicts well-known to the world (cassette scandal, different curves of the opposition between parliament and president) are not the concern of society on its own and touch only thin layer of persons engaged in politics. Situation in society is stable and serene.
Jews of Ukraine, who decided to continue living here because of this or that reasons and realize the right on their national life, own religion and culture.

2.ATTITUDES TO JEWS, ISRAEL, ANTI-SEMITISM

Since the independence of Ukraine was declared, anti-Semitism had undergone serious transformations. Instead of its administrative (limitations in educational and working opportunities) and state forms (anti-Zionist and anti-Israeli long-term campaign) new forms had appeared after the period of calmness: political, journalistic, sometimes with economical ground.
The number of anti-Semitic publications in 5-6 newspapers (Western Ukraine for the most part) increased from 20-30 in 1992 to 200 in 1999 with some decrease to 150 in 2000. The number of other demonstrations of anti-Semitism - actions of vandalism, manifestations and provocations - is not too large; it is on the level of European countries. Two or three small parties (less then 1% of members of the Ukrainian parliament) use direct or indirect anti-Semitic demagogy.
Nevertheless non-stable and uncertain social-economical and political position of state makes anti-Semitism and other demonstrations of xenophobia more potentially dangerous than in other European countries.
We attach to the report brief analysis of publications in Ukrainian press on the Near East problem, which characterizes attitude towards Israel in society.


3.JEWISH POPULATION

On the basis of the last census data (1989 year) and information about emigration and other demographic processes we can approximately determine that now in Ukraine there are about 450 thousand individuals ("core" - about 130 thousands), who can be relatively considered both as the potential of Jewish community and as the potential of "Jewish migration". According to the calculations of demographers at the beginning of 1996 year in Ukraine there were near 220 thousands of Jews from the ethnical "core", expanded population consisted about 650 thousands (including "marginal" and non-Jewish members of families).

"Jewish emigration" from Ukraine (1996-2000).

Ukraine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In %

Countries

Israel

USA

Germany

Russia

Canada

Australia

Total

«noshrim»

years

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1996

23447

8224

6871

2300

300

320

41462

43

1997

24106

6094

6940

1000

250

220

38610

38

1998

20083

3051

8494

1000

220

100

32948

39

1999

23118

2410

8556

450

170

50

34754

33

2000

20295

3300

8715

520

100

35

32965

38

1996--2000

111049

23079

39576

5270

1040

725

180739

39

%

61,4

12,8

21,9

2,9

0,6

0,4

100

38,6

"Natural" decrease of the "core" of Jewish population for this period made up not less than 15 thousands persons, so the decrease of expanded population is approximately 25 thousands.
During this period expectations on general emigration of the Jews was proved to be groundless. The Jewish community of Ukraine - side by side with international Jewish organizations - first of all Sochnut and JDC - has extended the spheres of its activity and has become stronger.
Now organized Jewish life represented by approximately 500 organizations and communities more than in 100 cities, which at the beginning of the 90th are incorporated in three "umbrella" structures. They are: the Vaad of Ukraine (270), The Jewish Council of Ukraine (170) and The Union of Jewish religious organizations of Ukraine (74); in 1997 All-Ukrainian Jewish Congress was founded, many organizations and communities take part in the activity of all four organizations.
In 1999 integration processes and active participation of Jews-businessmen in Jewish life prompted the appearance of two "super-umbrella" organizations side by side with "umbrella" structures mentioned above: The Jewish Confederation of Ukraine (founders: the Vaad of Ukraine, The Union of religious organizations of Ukraine, The Jewish Council of Ukraine and The Jewish community of city Kyiv) and United Jewish Community of Ukraine (founders: All-Ukrainian Jewish Congress, Makkabi-Ukraine, the Jewish Fund of Ukraine).
All basic Jewish "umbrella" organizations were officially recognized by the authorities of Ukraine and cooperate with the State ministries and departments in different programs. Representatives of the Jewish organizations attend meetings at different state levels right up to the highest. For the present national communities do not receive real and concrete help from the state; there is not law of restitution; however the difficult economical conditions and rather complicated internal political situation in Ukraine could explain it.
For past five years the Jewish community of Ukraine has become stronger: professional communal structures are functioning constantly in all areas of the Jewish life (social service and education, culture and religion, Judaic and Jewish youth movement, repatriation and preservation of Jewish heritage, information). It represents five years of serious professional activity, which could be rated as the main achievement of the Jewish community of Ukraine.
The partners of the Vaad of Ukraine still are European and World Jewish Congresses, the JDC, the Israel Foundation for Culture and Education in Diaspora, the L.A.Pinkus Fund, the Jewish Communities Development Fund, the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, the National Conference of Soviet Jewry, the JCU, etc.

4. PROGRAM 'CHARITY'

The program was established in 1992. By December 1995 the program had worked already in 33 cities of Ukraine and had served patronage help to 1238 needed. Various kinds of the humanitarian help (products, clothes, medicine, money) from JDC (about 50 thousands in 1995), "Tchiya"and other religious organizations were distributed through services of a program. However, rapid "aging" of a Jewish community predetermined necessity to enlarge social help system and to increase financial injections in this sphere. Since 1996 the centers of "Charity" system in 48 cities of Ukraine were handed over to JDC. On their base centers of "Hesed" system were established.
Nevertheless the program "Charity" is represented in the Vaad of Ukraine by charitable Jewish fund of Ukraine "Charity - Magen-Avot ", which conduct following activities side by side with Heseds:
1.1. - According to the Patronage Program in 29 cities, about 110,764 hours of patronage were conducted, 557 clients were visited 54,417 times.
1.2. - Hot dinners in 17 towns for 550 clients - 42,620 portions;
1.3. - Home dinners in 15 cities for 304 clients - 31,840 portions,
1.4. - Medical consultations in 6 cities - 333;
1.5. - Distribution of parcels in 18 cities - 6315;
1.4. - Distribution of clothing in 6 cities - 4,414;
1.5. - Material aid in 2 cities;
1.6. - Technical assistance in 2 cities - 214 cases;
1. 7. - Club activities in 3 cities with 210 constant members.

5.JEWISH EDUCATION

The first project of the Center of Jewish Education in Ukraine was developed in spring 1991, but its establishment was removed for two years because of absence of financing. The center was founded in 1993 with the organizational support by the Ministry of education of Ukraine. Now 30 best teachers - methodologists work there .The main tasks of the Center are: organization and holding educational seminars for the teachers of Jewish schools on Hebrew, Yiddish, history and tradition, special seminars for holidays; constant methodical help to Jewish schools, preparation and edition of the educational-methodical literature. The center is equipped with the necessary equipment and has a library.
In the Jewish communities of Ukraine there are 26 full-time Jewish schools, 11 kinder-gardens; about 60 Sunday schools, 8 yeshivas and more than 200 ulpans. 20 thousands persons study at the system of Jewish education, a half of them are children.
Activities of the Center for Jewish Education of Ukraine (CJE) are developed in following directions:
1. Teachers of Jewish subjects are prepared in two-year Pedagogical College.
2. Methodical and presentation web-site was made.
3.Two editions of methodical book "The skill and the inspiration " (circulation - 3000) was prepared and was distributed at the Jewish schools of Ukraine and Russia.
4.The "Lviv Ghetto Diary" of Rabbi David Kakhane was issued in Internet.
5. Festivals of Klezmer music (International seminar on Klezmer art) were carried out on August 2000 and on August 2001 with the support of the Jewish Community Development Fund (USA).
6. On a theme " Teaching the history of the Holocaust at the
Non-Jewish schools and youth education in the spirit of tolerance " there were conducted seminars for history teachers of the Ukrainian schools and for students-historian and psychologists.
7.Four-month courses for the future teachers of tradition for the project of Jewish self-identification "Zeut Jegudit" (for 26 participants and 7 teachers) were organized together with "Sochnut -Ukraine".
Now the Center prepares to start the program " Tssad Rishon"(First Step). It includes lectures and seminars on the Jewish tradition and history at Sunday schools, in study groups for adults, facultative courses about modern Israel and Jewish art in the light of tradition. The teachers for this program were prepared on the basis of the program " Zeut Jegudit " in cities Kiev, Vinnitsa, Odessa, Lutsk, Rovno, Simferopol, Evpatoria, Zaporozhye, Poltava, Uzhgorod, Novomoskovsk, Brianka, Belgorod - Dniestrovskii.

6. INSTITUTE OF THE JEWISH STUDIES
The Institute of Jewish Studies (Kyiv) pursues researches, organizes and holds conferences, seminars, lectures, and exhibitions; publishes books and other printed materials.

RESEARCH PROJECTS:
HISTORICAL-ARCHIVAL:
1. Description of Jewish funds and materials in the archives of Ukraine.
2. Jewish Fates. Ukraine - 20th Century (oral stories and reminiscences).
4. Collection, classification and description of old Jewish photographs.
5. Jewish scholarly establishment in the Academy of Sciences in Ukraine: 1919 - 1949
CONTEMPORARY STUDIES:
1.Monitoring the "Jewish Topic in Ukrainian Newspapers"
2.Monitoring of Anti-Semitism
3.Sociological and Demographic Studies
4.Library and bibliography of Jewish editions on Jewish Studies in Ukraine in 1989-
5.Creation of Databases
The Institute has the following databases: "Specialists in the Jewish Studies of Ukraine", "Jewish Organizations of Kyiv and Ukraine", "Jewish Studies Centers of Europe, USA, Israel and Other Countries".
PUBLISHING PROGRAMS
The Institute had published:
- Art-Journalistic Almanac of the Institute of Jewish studies "Yehupets" #1-8
- Books of the Series "Library of the Institute of Jewish Studies": - Zhanna Kovba "Humanity in the Abyss of Hell."
- Materials of the 7-th international conference " Jewish History and Culture in the Countries of Central and Eastern Europe-Holocaust of European Jewry during the Second World War: Reflection on the Turn of Centuries."
- Materials of the 8th International Conference "Jewish History and Culture in Countries of Central and East Europe - Ten Years of Jewish National Revival in Post-Soviet Countries: Experience, Problems, and Prospects"
- R. Metelnitsky "Some Pages about Jewish Buildings in Lutsk"
- Native Voice. Pages of Russian Jewish Literature at the end of 19th - beginning of 20th century.
- Collection " Jews and Slavs" v.7
- Perez Markish "Narecheny Zavirukhy"
- Josef Zissels. " If only for myself"
- Vadym Skuratovsky "Problem of the Author of the "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion"
- Geliy Aronov. "How I was..."
- Purim-schpiels in records of Moses Beregovsky
- B. Lekar. "Catalogue of Painting and Graphics"
- Fancy multi-page calendar in Russian and in English, color one-page calendars and calendar-director
The Institute prepares for publication:
- Popular Encyclopedia "Ukrainian Jewry"
Alexander Kruglov. "Destruction of the Jewish Population of Ukraine in 1941-1944. Collection of Documents and Materials"
- Guidebook " Jewish Address of Ukraine"
M. Mandelshtam "Book on Pogroms in the Russian Empire in the 80-s of the 19th century - on the Eve of the First World War"

HOLDING CONFERENCES, SEMINARS, LECTURES AND EXHIBITIONS

- Annual International Conference "Jewish History and Culture in Countries of Central and East Europe
- Lectures on Jewish History and Culture
- Club "Mnemosina"
- Art project "Haggadah"
- Cinema Festival "Khanukiya"
- Theatrical Art-Judaic

7.THE YOUTH PROGRAMS

The basic youth program is aimed to join young people to Jewish tradition and culture. Within this program annual educational summer camps "Shorashim" (" Roots and future of the Jews of Ukraine") are organized jointly with Sochnut. 150 teenagers from 26 cities of Ukraine have a rest in such camps. There are also youngsters from Moldova and Byelorussia. 36 tutors are prepared at the special seminar.

8.COMMITTEE OF REPATRIATION (VAAD ALIYA)

Committee of Repatriation works in Ukraine since 1990. Professional consultants, experts, psychologists were prepared at seminars in CIS and Israel by the experts of the Israeli ministries and departments to work in the Committee.
For the present 50 consultants work in 44 cities of Ukraine for the Committee of Repatriation of Ukraine.
The Committee conducts following activities:
1. Individual and group consultations (In 2000 there were conducted 167326 individual and 2769 group consultations for 11466 persons)
2. Responses to letters
3. Departure of repatriates by ship
4. Consultations and preparation of documents for "Pitsuim" - compensations from Germany. Ready documents were transferred to an Israeli lawyer. For those who need it documents from the Red Cross in Moscow about evacuation are required
5. The program Mini-Absorption
6. Assistance in guest visas, insurance, tickets and luggage to Israel
7. The program "Airplane"
8. The program for volunteers "Sar El"

9. PRESERVATION OF JEWISH HERITAGE

The problem of restitution of Jewish communal property is discussed with the representatives of state authority, various parties and national communities.
30 synagogues were actually returned to religious communities. 27 Rabies conduct services there.
In 1993 the Committee of preservation of the Jewish heritage was established. The Committee carries out number of projects on description of former Jewish properties. The Program is carried out jointly with WJRO and the Union of Judaic Religious Organizations of Ukraine.
Till nowadays more than 2115 objects of former Jewish property were detected.
1156 objects of Jewish communal property were described.
On the base of the information received computer database and informational search system has been forming. It opens the possibility to require any kind of information on the descriptions.

10. THE PROGRAM "RIGHTEOUS OF PEACE"

About 650 Righteous of Peace with diplomas from "Yad Vashem" live in Ukraine now. Only 200 of them receive welfare from international Jewish organizations. The Jewish organizations in Ukraine help these people contact with International funds and organizations, to make out necessary documents to receive some aid in difficult economic conditions. The Vaad of Ukraine had initiated payment of block grants (600 DM) from the National fund "Mutual Understanding and Reconciliation" for Righteous of peace and Jews, rescued by them, ".

11. MASS MEDIA.

60 Jewish newspapers (for the most part - monthly, the total circulation is about 100 thousand) are issued in Ukraine in Ukrainian, Russian and Yiddish.
There are all-Ukrainian TV programs "Menorah" and "Yahad", regional radio (Dnepropetrovsk, Chernovtsy, Lvov) and regional TV (Kharkov, Kremenchug, Dnepropetrovsk, Odessa) programs.

12.PROGRAM "MEMORY OF HOLOCAUST"

The purpose of the program is the preservation of the memory of 1500000 victims of Holocaust in Ukraine by collecting an information about the places of mass Jews destruction and burial (further - MJB) in Ukraine and description their present status.
This program pursues researches and descriptions of the sites of Jewish mass burials during the Second World War.
Activities were conducted on the following directions:
1. Archival databases and literature sources about Holocaust in Ukraine were worked out.
2. More than 1000 MJB needed visit and description, were determined on a basis of this research.
3. Program executors and coordinators in the regions of Ukraine were hired to visit and to describe MJB.
4. The MJB passport form was developed.
Archive and computer database (in Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Access) was created.
6. The main materials about more than 800 MJB were received
7. The Program Coordinators and executors visited MJB and have conducted such works:
8. The mass Jews destruction and burial places in Ukraine during the Holocaust were specified and put on large-scale maps with the help of local inhabitants and authorities.
- Passports of the MJB were made.
- Photostatting of the MJB (where monuments or memory marks were placed and on non-marked places) had been made.
- The memories of Holocaust witnesses were written where it was possible.
- The standard cemetery questionnaires were filled.
Till now only 30-60% MJB had monuments or memorial signs in different regions. More than a half of them were placed during the last 10 years. About 20% memorial signs need restoration.

THE MAIN ACTIONS (1995-2000)

- Constituent Congress of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine (1999)
- 7th International Conference "Holocaust of European Jewry during the Second World War: Reflection on the turn of the centuries (1999)
- Preparation and holding of the International Symposium "10 years after the fall of communism: The state of Jewish communities in Central and Eastern Europe" jointly with European Jewish Congress. About 400 delegates came to the Seminar from 30 European countries, the USA and Israel, there were also leaders of the biggest Jewish organizations of Europe (2000).
- Seminar for executive directors of the Jewish communities of CIS and Baltic countries (2000). The Vaad of Ukraine conducted the Seminar as a joint project of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine and the Russian Jewish Congress. A number of American and international Jewish organizations rendered program assistance for the Seminar. They are National Conference (Shy Franklin and Lesley Israel), The Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh (Howard Rigger and Michael Stainer), and The World Council of Community Service (Ted Comet).
- 8th International Conference "Jewish History and Culture in Countries of Central and East Europe - Ten Years of Jewish National Revival in Post-Soviet Countries: Experience, Problems, Prospects" (2000).

MAIN PROBLEMS OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF UKRAINE
The lack of financing, shortage of professionals, the forms of self-organization were not improved, strong external factors (the state, Israeli, American and international Jewish organizations) hamper and slow down the consolidation of renascent Jewish community.


6. NEWSPAPER 'KHADASHOT'
(CHIEF- MICHAEL FRENKEL)

The newspaper 'Khadashot' is a printed body of the Association of the Jewish Organizations and Communities of Ukraine. It has been issued once a month since August 1991.
Through lack of funding, only 2 issues of the newspaper 'Khadashot' were published with the circulation of 10,000 copies.
A total of 83 issues have been published since 1991.
In 2000, 'Khadashot' was distributed as a charity newspaper (free of charge) in Kyiv through the synagogue, "Khesed", "Magen-Avot", Joint and Sochnut representations. With the assistance of the "Press" organization it was distributed to 400 Jewish organizations and communities in Ukraine.
The sponsors of the Association provided the funding.

Chairman of the Vaad of Ukraine Joseph Zissels