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Beit Baruch Assisted Living Center for the Jewish Elderly, Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine

For far too many elderly in the FSU, living longer was not always a blessing. Many elderly lived alone in run down and decrepit apartments with broken windows, no running water, lack of proper heat and terribly lonely. Those who were mentally disabled, were placed in special Homes by the Soviet governments, but otherwise, it was a lonely and dangerous life.

In 1998, GJARN received a monetization grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to sell surplus USDA milk powder in Ukraine and to use the proceeds for a long term project that would benefit the people of Ukraine.

At the time, we were discussing with the Jewish community of Dnepropetrovsk, a partnership project which would establish the first Home for the Jewish Elderly in Ukraine, It was hoped that this model would serve as a prototype for similar projects across the FSU.

GJARN purchased an abandoned and closed elementary school building from a local business for $40,000 and plans were drawn up for this new center.

The original project was estimated to cost $250,000. After many discussions and meetings between ourselves and the local Jewish Community, a decision was reached that the Home would have to accommodate more people based on the minimum staff requirements and that the total project costs would amount to approximately $750,000.

GJARN pledged a total of $300,000 including the purchase and legal costs and the community pledged another $500,000. As the building progressed, the community enhanced the plans and provided additional funding and in the end, the total construction, renovation and equipment costs amounted to nearly $1.2 million dollars.

The partnership was established whereby GJARN was to fund two thirds of the operational costs not covered by local charity and Hesed funds* and the balance to be covered by the local Jewish community with a planned phase out whereby the local community would assume full charge of the center once the community itself was more established.

The center was named after the father of the President of the Jewish Community, Mr. Gennadiy Bogolyubov who himself donated $500,000 towards the construction costs, and the building is known as the Beit Baruch Assisted Living Center for the Jewish Elderly.

The living center opened its doors in 2001 and receives wide support from the local Jewish community and from its sister community in the US, the Boston Jewish Community which has provided tremendous funding, support and medical training to our center.

With the onset of conflict in Ukraine, many elderly and vulnerable Jews from neighboring cities in Ukraine were displaced and became homeless. Beit Baruch took in many families and capacity at the home increased to well over 120 people for several years.

Despite having transferred ownership and full financial responsibility of the Beit Baruch Assisted Living Center in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine in 2008 to the local Jewish community, the local representative of GJARN continues to serve on its Board and is actively involved in the day to day management of this magnificent center, currently providing a warm home to some 90 elderly Jewish residents from Dnepropetrovsk region and other cities in Ukraine. 

In addition, we continue looks for ways to improve the services of the Home and regularly send volunteers and various lay leadership professionals and doctors to advise the Home on new programs they can offer to make the Golden Age for Ukraine's senior heroes that much more pleasant and meaningful.

GJARN also helped renovate and maintain a smaller assisted living center for elderly Jewish residents in Vyborg, Russia in 2005 named the Burt Friedlander Assisted Jewish Living Center (no longer operational).

* The JDC operated Hessed center which was already paying for many services for most of our residents in their previous homes agreed to contract BB and pay for these same services at our Home.

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