KIEV, Ukraine (JTA) — A new Jewish community center was dedicated in a central Ukrainian industrial city.
The new JCC of Kryvoy Rog dedicated May 12 includes a children’s center and facilities for youth activities. The Britain-based World Jewish Relief donated funding for the JCC.
The Beit Graham center offers facilities for welfare support, Jewish education and community life, including a computer center, concert hall and space for communal festival celebrations.
In 2005, World Jewish Relief adopted Kryvoy Rog — a major steel town in central Ukraine — as an “Our Town” project, committing to fully support the Jewish community there. World Jewish Relief purchased the JCC building, which until recently was a dilapidated site that was unfit for use.
Four years later, following dedicated fund-raising efforts by World Jewish Relief and its supporters to raise the remaining funds needed, the JCC can now act as a focal point for a Jewish community in Kryvoy Rog of about 12,000. The city’s population is approximately 700,000.
“The building is a gift to you from the Jews of England through World Jewish Relief," said Richard Graham, one of World Jewish Relief’s major donors. "However, this center has only come to fruition because of the remarkable achievements of the Kryvoy Rog Jewish community itself in creating a vibrant Jewish life out of the ashes of the Holocaust and oppression of communism.”
The JCC’s children’s wing is named in memory of Tony Brooks, a staunch World Jewish Relief volunteer who died in 2006. His wife, Bonnie, plus many members of her extended family, joined the 40-strong group from the United Kingdom to pay tribute to Tony Brooks and open the wing.
Many guests, including local officials and residents, and Jewish leaders from abroad, World Jewish Relief staff, volunteers and donors attended the official opening and dedication.