Hundreds of guests and supporters of the Russian Jewish community filled the Edison Ballroom in Manhattan Monday evening to celebrate the 63nd anniversary of Chamah International. Prominent philanthropists, public figures and community leaders were among the guests at the elegant black-tie affair. They were elegantly wined and dined at the Edison Ballroom in Midtown Manhattan, treated to the breathtaking performance by “Israeli Paganini” Violinist Sanya Kroitor, as well as a delightful musical rendition by the Israeli composer and pianist, Zlata Razdolina. The crowd was superbly entertained by the renowned stand-up comedian, Modi, who served as M.C.
Rabbi Dr. Hank Sheinkopf was honored with American Leadership Award for his admirable and untiring dedication to the Jewish people, and specifically, to the Land of Israel.
Founded over sixty years ago in the Communist Russian underground by a handful of Chassidim of the Frierdiker Rabbe, they worked to keep the flame of Yiddishkeit alive under the watchful eyes of the KGB at peril to their lives. The Rebbe greatly encouraged their work, and would address his letters to “Doda Nechama” (and not Chamah) to protect their identity.
Finally, in 1971 Rabbi Hillel Zaltzman, who today is President of Chamah, Rabbi Moshiach Chudaitov, Vice President, and Rabbi Binyomin Malachovski, who serves as Executive Director and Treasurer, were able to immigrate to the United States. Under their dedicated and able leadership, Chamah has grown exponentially. Rabbi Benzion Laskin is Program Director, and Rabbi Berri Spitezki is Director of Development. Mitchell Benerofe is the devoted International Co-Chairmen.
Chamah humanitarian, educational and outreach programs in Israel, Russia, and the United States touch the lives of over 20,000 Jews per year, enhancing the lives of the ill and elderly and earning their eternal gratitude.
The Annual National Russian Shabbaton, which takes place each year in February in Stamford, CT, is the single largest event for Russian Jewry in America, and is run in conjunction with Lubavitch Youth Organization. The weekend retreat – which will take place this year President’s Day Weekend, February 12th thru the 14th – attended by over 1,000 participants, unites three generations in a vibrant celebration of Jewish pride. The inspiring lectures and lively children’s programs strengthen their bond to their heritage. The warm glow of the traditional Shabbat table, songs and traditions are experienced by many for the very first time, and last a lifetime.
Chamah runs a Day Camp in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, under the able leadership of Rabbi and Mrs. Ephraim Zaltzman, attended by more than a hundred children from low-income Russian immigrant families, who spend a fun-filled summer at Chamah Camp while learning about their Jewish Heritage, thanks to Chamah who covers most of the cost.
The Chamah First Jewish Medical & Rehabilitation Center in Moscow, a six-story stat-of-the-art edifice, opened its doors in 2013 after years of planning, and much effort. The Center is a dream-come-true for impoverished Moscow residents. Previously, the wait for medical attention could last for weeks – sometimes even months. Those whose ailments were not deemed life-threatening were frequently turned away, as were seniors deemed “too old to treat.”
The Medical & Rehabilitation Center is fully licensed and operational, with 15 physicians on staff in various departments: cardiology, gastroenterology, stomatology, dermatology, and ophthalmology – to list a few – treating 4,500 needy patients, many of them elderly. For the first time ever patients have access to pre-op testing, complicated medical procedures, post-operative recovery, and rehabilitation, all under one roof, and under the constant supervision of top medical doctors.
“Growing up in the worst times in the Soviet Union, we never would have dreamed that such a Jewish institution of this kind would ever exist in Moscow,” said Rabbi Chudaitov, “to us, it is a real miracle.”
Footage of The Chamah Humanitarian Center in Moscow showed the bustling center, which is a second home to hundreds of the lonely elderly, with a soup kitchen, meals-on-wheels program, educational and entertaining activities. With the influx of thousands of Ukrainian Jews as the fighting in their native country intensified, the Center provided them with all their basic needs, as well as helping them reestablishing their lives.
The Chamah Esther Center in Mosow serves special needs children, where they receive a first-rate education, staffed by loving specialists who enable each child to develop to their fullest potential. The after-school program at the Center runs an enrichment programs with art, music, dance, drama, and Jewish Heritage classes, which are not provided in public schools.
Chamah Community Center in Kiryat Malachi, Israel, is a two-building 40,000 square foot complex, and the hub of their humanitarian activities. It houses a senior center, summer day camp, library, crisis counseling services, employment center, day care center, and summer day camp. Children who have been traumatized by the violence in Israel enjoy a care-free summer thanks to Chamah.