Impact Postcard: Jacy Grais
“A few weeks ago, I returned home from Tbilisi, Georgia, and Russia, where my ancestors lived before they fortuitously immigrated to the US. I met the descendants of people just like my great-great-grandparents, the only difference being that those people stayed in Russia when my relatives left.
For decades, those who stayed were oppressed and often felt alone. They could not engage in Jewish practices and customs, and for many, the concept of Jewish peoplehood was foreign. But all was not lost and today, thanks to the tireless work of JDC, JAFI and World-ORT, Jews are reconnecting with one another and their shared heritage. They are able to attend Jewish summer camp and schools, participate in community programs, and be cared for in times of need and vulnerability.
I met a man named Yuri, a former opera singer, whose life was turned upside down when he suffered a stroke 10 years ago. Yuri and his wife told me that the Jewish community SAVED HIS LIFE - physically because of services he receives, and spiritually because of the emotional support and sense of community that accompany those services.
These things don’t happen unless we step up. I give to the Minneapolis Jewish Federation and the St. Paul Jewish Federation so that all Jews, regardless of their circumstances or whereabouts, will know that they are not alone, they are part of a global community that cares.”