R E P O R T
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
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
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
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
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
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).
from Ukraine (1996-2000).
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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".
The Institute had published:
- Art-Journalistic Almanac of the Institute of Jewish studies "Yehupets"
- 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
- 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"
SEMINARS, LECTURES AND EXHIBITIONS
- Annual International
Conference "Jewish History and Culture in Countries of Central and
- 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
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
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.
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
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)
6. The main materials about more than 800 MJB were received
7. The Program Coordinators and executors visited MJB and have conducted
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
- 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
- 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
The sponsors of the Association provided the funding.
Chairman of the Vaad
of Ukraine Joseph Zissels