2010-11-03 / Federation

Fred Privoroter: 'Be Proud of What You Do'

There are nearly a quarter-million elderly Jews living today in the former Soviet Union who need basic, lifesustaining support. Eighty-eight-year-old Fred Privoroter is among this vulnerable population.

Fred was born in Odessa, and after completing high school, he enrolled in the Odessa Medical University. During World War II, he worked as a doctor in the Kirovograd Region (South Ukraine). Throughout the war, Fred served in the ranks of the Soviet Army, defending his country from the Nazis. After the war, he was sent to the Far East to serve in a military hospital, where he was Chief of Laboratory until his retirement in 1983.

Fred’s life today is a far cry from the glamour of youth and accomplishments. His wife has passed away, and he has no other surviving family members apart from a sister in Israel. Fred lives alone in his one-room apartment, in a dilapidated complex in Odessa. His kitchen consists of a single sink, which runs cold water on some days, and on most days no water at all. The ceiling walls are peeling, and there is an intolerable stench that wafts through his cluttered apartment. Fred has not stepped out of his apartment in four years.

But he is not forgotten thanks to the work of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and the dollars raised by the Jewish Federations of North America.

Since 1989, the Federation-supported Gmilus Hesed has been providing Fred meals, clothing, medications, and companionship. Fred is most grateful for this assistance.

“The Hesed is my life,” said Fred. “The people involved in the Federation system are too humble about the work of Gmilus Hesed, but it is my connection to the world.”

Thanks to the support of the Jewish community here and throughout North America, Fred Privoroter can continue to live his life, filled with accomplishments, in dignity.

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) works with and on behalf of North America’s Jewish federations to care for fellow Jews in Israel and around the world. JDC’s rescue and relief programs aid imperiled or impoverished Jews who have no other lifeline. JDC revitalizes Jewish life, reconnects Jews to their heritage and each other and helps them rebuild strong, self-sufficient communities. JDC gives global expression to the enduring Jewish principle--all Jews are responsible for one another.

The Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey is proud to support the work of the JDC, our life-saving and life-sustaining overseas partner, by allocating dollars contributed each year to the Jewish Federation’s Annual Campaign.

(This article is adapted from a piece written by Angela Ingel, Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, Marin and Sonoma.)

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