Letters to Am Echad from a recipient in St. Petersburg, the Chief Rabbi of St. Petersburg, and a financial supporter.

Dear Friends,

I am pleased at the opportunity to tell you how deeply grateful I am for your truly inestimable assistance.

It's no secret that our country, with its profoundly sick economic, has dragged millions of its citizens to the brink of poverty. Today people of all ages and statuses, including even the young and the healthy, are forced to fight hard just to survive here. The lot of the least-protected segment of society–the disabled and the elderly–is often simply tragic in our present reality.

If a woman works hard throughout her life, giving the job her all, it's a hard and bitter experience for her to find her fate cast to the wind in her waning years. A miserly pension that won't even buy food and the complete indifference of the pseudodemocratic regime are all that the average elderly person can count on here today. But if society is still anti-Semitic and you are a Jew, the situation is fraught with still more complications. Thus has it always been and, alas, the much-ballyhooed "perestroika" did not bring about any fundamental changes here. Changes for us began with the arrival of the Hesed Avraham organization in our city, when for the first time things suddenly became not harder but better for us Jews by reason of our nationality!

And indeed the assistance of Am Echad allows us to do what we could not even dream of before  to buy all (!) the medicines utterly essential to a tolerable existence  and thereby saves, in the most literal sense, the lives of a great many of us. What could be more important to a person?

But the joy that you have brought into our lives does not stop there. For many of us the only way of surviving under sometimes unbearable conditions is not to allow ourselves to break down internally and to hold on to the ability to rejoice at life, for all its hardships. "If you can't change the world, change your attitude toward it." But how hard it can be at times to follow this principle if you yourself are weak, sick, and alone! And how endlessly pleasing it is suddenly to find friends in an entirely different world and to be assured once again that the innate brotherhood of Jews extends so far! This is the thought that warms our soul today, and our pride in our remarkable, durable, intelligent, kind people is your most precious gift, one that will remain with us forever.

With my best wishes and deepest thanks,

Larisa Geltman
St. Petersburg
August 12, 2000

Next Letterright arrow
 Home     How can I help?     Contacting us     EnvelopeWrite to us