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Novemeber 2012
Leonard Saxe


Dear Friends,


I have been traveling over the last several weeks: to Israel for the Jewish People Policy Institute annual meeting, to New York for Taglit-Birthright Israel's meetings, and to the Federation General Assembly (GA) meetings in Baltimore. The work of the Center/Institutes figured prominently in all three settings.  


Our Hesed study, which was presented at the GA and is being released today, focuses on the condition of the elderly in the Former Soviet Union and on services provided by the Joint Distribution Committee's Hesed centers. This report is the outgrowth of work we began nearly ten years ago to understand the condition of elderly Nazi victims (Report). The new study, developed by a team led by Liz Tighe, describes the situations faced by elderly in Russia and Ukraine and documents the way in which the global economic crisis has disproportionately affected their pensions and ability to access health and social services (compared to U.S. elderly). The study also assesses services provided by Hesed centers and the gaps in those services due to limited resources. The analysis is based on a comparison of macro-economic indicators and country-specific sources of data on the elderly population, as well as fieldwork including site visits to Hesed centers and discussions with clients and providers. This was a unique opportunity for our team to explore conditions on the ground in Russia and Ukraine. We got to know the people, understand their living conditions, and see firsthand how the Jewish community provides for its members. (See the team's blog post and video.)  


There's new progress to report from our JData project, as well. The JData team, headed by Amy Sales, met at the GA with leaders of the federations, central agencies for Jewish education, and national agencies that are using JData to gather information about Jewish education. The discussion, co-facilitated by Charles "Chip" Edelsberg, Executive Director of the Jim Joseph Foundation, centered on the future growth and development of the JData system.


You may also be interested in my op-ed, published in the Jerusalem Post, about our recent study of the long-term impact of Taglit-Birthright Israel. 


Thank you for your on-going interest and support of our work. To those in the U.S., best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.


Best regards,


Len signature  

Leonard Saxe, Phd.

Klutznick Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies and Social Policy
Director, Steinhardt Social Reseach Institute and Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies


An Analysis of Clients Served by Hesed Service Centers in Russia & Ukraine


Throughout the Former Soviet Union (FSU), the American Jewish Joint  Distribution Committee (JDC) has supported the development of Hesed welfare and Jewish community centers to assist in the provision of  services to Jews in need and to support the renewal of Jewish life after years of suppression. The present report is designed to review the current economic, health, and social conditions of these elderly Jews in need in the FSU and to compare their circumstances, as best possible, to their counterparts who live in western countries such as the United States.  


Read the report



Volume 6, Issue 5
This Issue
Hardship and Needs of Elderly Hesed Clients

 JData, a CMJS signature project, collects and provides census-like information about Jewish educational programs in North America. We continue to form new partnerships and are working intensively with local communities and national agencies to better understand data trends and use information strategically. For more information, visit our website.   


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