Polotsk - Belarus
During 2009 the Polotsk Jewish Community lost most of the support funding that it had been receiving from many Jewish charities and they were struggling to maintain themselves.
FRS started working with Polotsk in 2009 and became twinned with the community in January 2010. Since then we have visited many times, we have developed good relations with many people in the community. Our madrichim have been there to run summer camp and we have had visits to London from the Polotsk madrichim. We have helped the community to develop and feel supported. We are learning from them and they are learning from us. Culturally it is a fascinating link. Polotsk is in the Vitebsk region of Belarus, and Vitebsk was the home of artist Marc Chagall. Polotsk was also home to the parents of violinist Jascha Heifetz.
In Belarus there are no kosher shops, or shops that sell Judaica.
Kol HaNeShema - Israel
Kol HaNeshama is an active and vibrant centre for Progressive Judaism in Jerusalem. The community is situated in Baka and serves the greater population of southern Jerusalem. Kol HaNeshama is a pluralistic, egalitarian and spiritually welcoming community. It believes that progressive Judaism inspires us to forge a modern Jewish identity rooted in tradition and committed to democracy and social justice.
FRS first became twinned with Kol HaNeShema in the late 80s when a strong relationship developed between Rabbi Jeffrey Newman at FRS and Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman at Kol HaNeShema. FRS helped the community financially in the early years and many members called in to enjoy services in Jerusalem on their personal trips to Israel. Rabbi Levi visited FRS on many an occasion, bringing with him new music and ideas for our services.