«Jewish Observer»
July 2002
5762 Av

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Prophet Isaiah has wonderful lines, "And He said: You will not only become My slave to restore the tribes of Iaakov and to return the remains of Israel, but I will make you the light of peoples for My salvation extend towards the World's end"(Isaiah: 49:6). Their meaning is very deep: Jews are responsible for the entire world! That's correct as we, Jews, were granted Torah! Only to read Torah is not sufficient. We should live in compliance with it, check every our step against it!

American united distribution committee "Joint" has developed an energetic activity on the post-Soviet expanse. One of its main directions is rendering charitable aid through kheseds. This is a relief for those badly in need, some support to a pension.

But a question arises: is it correct to help only Jews? Yes, donations of American Jews are unlikely to feed everybody. Actually, no one tries to achieve this. I mean other things. In my opinion, not so much is needed to render a little help, alongside with Jews, to other respectable people - invalids, war veterans - Russians, Ukrainians who have greatly contributed to save peace in this world! I think "Joint" would not go bankrupt in such case!

Assistance on the basis of nationality, let's be candid, enforces negative attitude towards us, Jews, who have suffered enough in our lives. Yes, an anti-Semite will invariably remain an anti - Semite, but is there any need to fan passions? Is there any need to give another cause for saying "Yid"? The "Joint" representatives arrive and leave whereas we, Ukrainian Jews, are to live here! Is it so pleasant to hear round almost every corner, "Help for Jews, help for Jews..."? (This help, you should agree, is far from being praised!)

During the war people shared the last crunch of bread paying no attention to a nationality. And that was right! I think it's high time this question was raised.

We should, at least, discuss it and chose an acceptable form of "Joint" 's activity in Ukraine. I don't call to refuse from charity. But nobody seems to be in a hurry to seek our advice (for example, on the pages of the most popular Jewish newspaper in Ukraine "Jewish Observer").

Almost all local Jewish organizations materially depend on "Joint", rather, on its leadership. They fear to say a word not to be removed from a "manger".

The author of these lines used to cooperate with the press in the time of a "leading and directing force", but I can't recall such fear to raise even a petty question as the Jewish press demonstrates nowadays ("Observer" is merely the only exception). Will they raise, then, serious questions? The conclusion is: do we need such help to Jews and, moreover, on the basis of nationality? No one knows what it may lead to tomorrow. We need no other Holocaust!!!


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