Charitable and non-profit organisation JDC has recently shared a story of a 78-year-old, retired miner, Boris, who grew up with a strong sense of Jewishness, celebrating holidays and seeing his grandfather pray.

JDC is a Humanitarian, Non-profit and charity organisation in Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine. The Charitable provides basic human aid to all Jewish families worldwide.

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The Organisation has been working to cultivate a Jewish future and lead the Jewish community’s response to crises.

While sharing Boris’s story, JDC highlighted that being born and growing up in a Jewish family and being Jewish in the Soviet Union, it wasn’t easy for him, as Boris wouldn’t discover a larger Jewish community until he connected with the JDC-supported Hesed Hana social welfare centre in Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine, later in life.

This Sukkot, Boris talks about the evolution of his Jewish life, from childhood until now, and what JDC has meant to him.

While sharing his own story, Borish made certain revelations about being Jewish. He highlighted his traditions, challenges and overall experience as a Jewish in Ukraine.

Read Here Boris Story in his own words:

Jewish life was a central part of my childhood. I remember that my grandfather observed Jewish traditions — he read prayers and celebrated all the holidays. As a small boy who loved sweets, I especially enjoyed the Chanukah donuts!

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But since we lived in the Soviet Union, I knew nothing about the rest of my community, and outside my home, I only heard the word “Jew” spoken in a negative way.

Later on, this caused problems even at work.
But despite these challenges, nothing could take away my Jewish identity, my family upbringing, or the sense of belonging to the Jewish community that my grandfather nurtured in me.

That’s why I wanted to reconnect with my roots when I learned about the JDC-supported Hesed Hana social welfare centre here in Kryvyi Rih.

The Hesed day centre — a place for elderly Jews to socialize and connect to Jewish life — is my chance to feel Jewish again. At Hesed Hana, I communicate with like-minded people to celebrate holidays. And feel part of a Jewish community.

And this year, Sukkot is also my chance to feel under the protection of the Almighty.

There’s a feeling of freedom and gratitude for the fact that JDC and the global Jewish community don’t abandon us but give us hope — even in these difficult times.

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