past Israel to help
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Valid until 3-31-03.
Coupon not valid on G35 Coupe.
•••••••• ■ •
South of Maple • Birmingham
he needs of Jewish communi-
ties are everywhere — just
ask Smart Saffer.
Working for the American
Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
(JDC) since 1989, Saffer has helped
rebuild Jewish communities in the for-
mer Soviet Union.
On a stop through the Detroit area in
February, the JDC area director for the
republics of Belarus and Moldova in the
former Soviet Union shared a story of
Jewish needs worldwide.
In 1991, Saffer opened the first JDC
office in the former
Soviet city of Odessa,
"With 69,000 Jews
living there officially
and 100,000 in total,
you could go to a
synagogue for a festi-
val and you'd see 60
people," he said.
"The Jewish com-
munity was one syn-
agogue, and you could walk around the
Jewish community for about a half an
hour to know what was going on. Now,
it would take you two weeks to get a full
grip on what was happening."
The JDC is responsible for building an
infrastructure of schools, kindergartens,
social welfare agencies including Meals
on Wheels and a Jewish community cen-
ter, he said. "In our mind, it's an untold
story in the Jewish world what's hap-
pened there in the last 10 years."
All together, the JDC helps about
300,000 Jews in need outside of Israel,
and 260,000 of those Jews get daily assis-
tance from 170 Heseds (social welfare
centers) around the world.
The Hesed logs every service in a com-
puter database, which is passed on to the
Jerusalem office every month.
"We know exactly what services were
given to what areas — food packages,
medical equipment. Everything we do