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Programs & Services

Navigating Transition with Comprehensive Programs and Services

In response to FREE’s mandate of assisting Eastern European refugees and immigrants, in all aspects of their spiritual and material lives, FREE has established a myriad of programs and services to ease the transition of immigrants from the former Soviet Union into the freedoms of the western world.

From helping with the day to day needs of food, shelter, clothing and gainful employment, to the spiritual needs found in religious ceremony, education, celebration and prayer, FREE is there. From the very young to the elderly, and all points in between, FREE has devoted it’s energies and resources toward providing quality and innovative programs and services for Russian immigrants worldwide. Please browse the headings below to learn more about FREE’s activities within Russian Jewish Communities.

For the past 70 years, Jewish education has been prohibited to Jews under the oppressive regimes of the former Soviet Union. To remedy this dire situation, FREE offers a number of educational services for Russian Jewish children, youth, and adults. Our education page has a a brief review of FREE’s educational programs.

Providing friendship and assistance is central to the mission of Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe. Many social service agencies cannot relate to the unique cultural and linguistic barriers that exist for newly arrived Russian Jewish immigrants. FREE’s leadership has dedicated itself to assisting their compatriots succeed in American society.

Most Jewish males from the Former Soviet Union have never been circumcised due to the long-standing communist prohibition of Jewish religious practice. From its inception, FREE has been working to repair the policies of Soviet Russia, notifying Russian Jewish immigrants that this crucial ceremony is available completely free of charge.

It is customary to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah with a joyous feast and family celebration. In order to make these important moments available to Russian Jewish immigrants of all ages, FREE sponsors the purchase of tefillin and arranges a traditional Bar Mitzvah ceremony. In addition, FREE offers classes and individual tutoring.

Jewish children of all levels are vulnerable to the pervasive assimilative forces of television, media, and the Anglo-American education offered in the public school system. To neutralize these threats, FREE operates a number of popular youth clubs. FREE’s youth clubs provide a rich program of sports, games and creative activities.

The summer vacation from school is a critical time in youth development. The time can be blessed with growing, learning, and enjoying life’s opportunities. Summer can also be a time of concern for parents. FREE operates Jewish overnight and day camps, as well as a placement service to refer parents to the right camp to meet each child’s needs.

Due to communist religious oppression, many Russian Jewish immigrants were denied a proper Jewish wedding under the “Chuppah.” Jewish couples now want to perform their marriage in a traditional way here in America. FREE arranges weddings for Russian immigrants of all ages in full accordance with the Torah.

FREE’s Russian synagogues provide an at-home atmosphere for Russian immigrants. Compatriots can foster pride in being Jewish. Rabbis deliver words of Torah in the Russian, prayer-books and Chumashim are printed with Russian translation and Russian-language adult education classes introduce Jews to their heritage.

In order to ease the language barrier and allow Russian Jews to access their heritage, in 1971, FREE founded the first Jewish Russian Publishing House in the world. The FREE Publishing House distributes Russian-language publications to the Russian Jewish community. Publications are varied, from simple brochures to in-depth books.

FREE has a special connection with the Russian-Jewish community in respect to Holiday Celebrations. FREE’s Holiday activities are a major factor in bringing families together and providing a continuity of Jewish youngsters, who are all too anxious to assimilate into non-Jewish American society.

Due to years of oppressive regimes, many Russian Jews lack background and knowledge in their heritage, making them prime targets for missionary advances. Missionaries utilize smooth talk, deception, and material enticements such as cheap meals to lead Russian Jews away from their inheritance, and the truth.

Kaddish is a Mitzvah, a true act of kindness, and one of the basic cornerstones of Jewish life. Many people wish to say Kaddish for their loved ones, but for various reasons, find it difficult or even impossible.FREE Kaddish Service is a service that arranges Kaddish to be said, according to tradition, on behalf of whomever you choose.

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