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Home » About Chamah » History » The 80's

The 80's

learning

The crack in the Iron Curtain during the 1970’s and 1980’s enabled thousands of Jews to reach the shores of the USA and the Holy Land. These oppressed Jews fleeing for their lives and shivering from cold, hunger and fear arrived with no money and no language. Hope and determination would sustain and lead their way.

It was during this era that Chamah expanded its activities assisting our fellow brethren.

The crack in the Iron Curtain during the 1970’s and 1980’s enabled thousands of Jews to reach the shores of the USA and the Holy Land. These oppressed Jews fleeing for their lives and shivering from cold, hunger and fear arrived with no money and no language. Hope and determination would sustain and lead their way.

It was during this era that Chamah expanded its activities assisting our fellow brethren.

Israel

Chamah Meyerhoff Center

The continuous stream of Jews trickling out of the Soviet Union brought about a great demand to establish a Center which would cater to their needs. With this in mind, Chamah began the construction of the Chamah Meyerhoff Center located in the southern coastal region of Israel, Kiryat Malachi, where many Jewish refugees settled. The campus, consisting of two large building situated on beautifully landscaped grounds would house dormitory apartments, kitchen, classrooms, dining room, lecture hall, publication center etc.

two girls
 
One of the first programs to be operated at the Chamah campus is a dormitory school for refugee children. With no home to call their own, Chamah has adopted them both materially and spiritually. Providing these children with a full curriculum of both secular and Jewish studies, combined with informal learning opportunities, our former students, now married with families of their own, are holding responsible positions in their respective fields of training.

Seminars and Weekend Retreats  

Immigrants from all over Israel enjoy the Shabbatonim that Chamah operates. Through an informal learning atmosphere, “A Weekend with Chamah”  provides immigrants with the Shabbat experience in a relaxed setting.  Participants enjoy festive Shabbat meals, discussions, lectures, song and prayer. Special activities are arranged for children.

Establishment of Educational Institutions

Educating our youth is our priority for the future. Chamah founded educational institutions  throughout the country in areas such as Tzfat, Rishon Letzion and of course at its campus in Kiryat Malachi. With limited or no Jewish background these youngsters are eager to learn about their Jewish heritage and traditions. A thorough program of secular studies are also part of the curriculum. Various activities such as dance, art and cooking are offered. Thousands of youth have been educated through the Chamah schools which are now being operated through the Ministry of Education.  

schools

A School for Every Child

The Israeli educational system is comprised with an abundant and diverse variety of schools and institutions. Each child can find the institution conducive to his learning capacity. Chamah operates a special division within the educationsal system to help new immigrants understand the system and choose the educational center suitable to his needs. Whether high risk adolescents, children from broken homes or children with special challenges; through Chamah hundreds of youngsters and teens have been placed in suitable schools.

dorm

Counseling Services

In affiliation with government agencies and private foundations, Chamah activists set up counseling services throughout the country. The newly arrived immigrants received free guidance in seeking housing and employment. Chamah arranged interest free loans with low monthly returns. The advice and monetary help proved to be significantly valuable in helping to settle the rescued Russian Jews.

Alef Publication

Chamah started a weekly magazine named Alef. It was then the first and only Jewish weekly magazine in the Russian language to be read and distributed worldwide.  Its readers from all over the globe till today enjoy the assortment of topics on current events, health issues, general Jewish knowledge, etc.

In an extraordinary move that demonstrated the growing respect and support for “Alef Magazine”, NYANA- the New York Association of New Americans supplied every Russian Jewish immigrant with a complimentary subscription. “Alef -The Jewish Weekly Magazine in the Russian Language”, has rapidly become the primary source of general and Jewish information for Russian speaking Jews. It is read by tens of thousands of people worldwide. 

alef

Jewish Literature in the Russian Language

The physical and spiritual oppression coerced upon the Jewish people behind the “Iron Curtain” has left them ignorant of their Jewish culture.  Thirsty to learn about their Jewish history and culture in their native language, Chamah responded to this great need and began the publication of many Jewish classics translated into the Russian language. Thousands of copies of Jewish literature were quickly bought off the shelves from dozens of bookstores.   

literature

USA

Radio Horizon

Chamah established Radio Horizon, the only daily radio program in the Russian language and the broadcasting arm of Chamah in the New York metropolitan area. It airs an exciting and fascinating series of programs developed for its use by the Russian section of the Jewish Agency in Israel.  The success and interest in Radio Horizon has been phenomenal and the letters received have been of special importance demonstrating just how valuable the show has become to the over hundred of thousands of listeners, both new immigrants and old. They stop whatever they are doing to tune in each day. 
 

Russia

First Jewish Book Fair in Moscow

In 1989, with the glimmers of Galsnost and Perstroika the shifting Soviet government hosted its International Book Fair in Moscow.  Its browsers found ample evidence of Jewish literature at Chamah’s booth. Having published numerous works on a variety of Jewish topics Chamah’s stand was a popular spot visited by thousands of eager readers.

Chernobyl Disaster

In most countries, the victims of any type of disaster are able to turn to the Federal Government.  Back in Soviet Russia, where the government and its citizens were themselves in dire need, the victims of the Chernobyl disaster have turned to many organizations for help.

Chamah took upon itself the tremendous job of trying to alleviate some of the suffering brought about by the disaster.

In gratitude for the help Chamah has provided for the families, the picture shown below was sent to us by the “Heroes of Chernobyl” which were those who extinguished the fires at the nuclear reactor.
 
horizon