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Saturday, 20 September 2014
 
 
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News of the Moses Rosen Lodge in Bucharest PDF Print E-mail
Many programmes are at present in hand at the Moses Rosen B’nai B’rith Lodge in Romania. Preparations for the European Convention of B’nai B’rith are at full speed. A coordination committee works together with BBE to fulfil all our commitments – a major task in view of the diversity of programmes. We hope that by the beginning of our Convention, all will be in order.
At our regular meetings, ethno-sociologist dr. Hary Kuller presents a cycle of very interesting lectures about the presidents of B’nai B’rith Romania. Also the members proposed eng. Jose Iacobescu, our President, as our nominee to be elected to the Executive Committee of BBE.

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The young generation of BBR initiated a program called: “Adopting a Grandparent” and here is an article written by Monica Lazarescu about this project. “It’s a known fact that who doesn’t have grandparents should adopt at least one”.





In Romania the majority of the Jewish population is made of elderly people. Some of them have families in Israel, USA, Canada or other parts of the world. Others never had kids, and their friends and life-partners died. For one reason or another they are alone.

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Besides that, their health is in a bad shape. They are lonely, ill, elderly Jews that cannot take care of themselves. Some ended up in the Rosen Jewish Home, others, with a better financial situation hire someone to take care of them. All of them are our clients, the beneficiaries of the “Adopting a grandparent” program (AGP).

This program started about 5 years ago in Timisoara, followed on in Bucharest. Not long thereafter it spread to Craiova, Oradea, Cluj, Brasov, Suceava, Iasi, Piatra-Neamt. Supported by funds received from JOINT, these young volunteers would bring food packages to lonely, ill, elderly Jews, and together with their visits they would bring optimism, hope, joy and laughter in the harts of their “adopted grandparents”.

About two years ago the JOINT’s funding for AGP stopped, but the programme continued. In the Jewish communities outside Bucharest, volunteers would still help the elderly Jews they grew so attached to. Now, mostly during holydays, local communities sponsor the volunteers so they can bring at least a symbolic gift to their “adopted grandparents”.

In Bucharest “Adopting a grandparent” Program continued thanks to FEDROM’s constant financial support, and starting in December 2007, thanks to B’nai B’rith financial and moral support. It is presently coordinated by Silvian Horn and Monica Lazarescu, members of B’nai B’rith.

“Adopting a Grandparent Program” continues every month with several different activities. Twice a month, on Sundays, young volunteers bring gifts to their “grandparents”: fruits, sweets, cookies, phone-cards (in order for the lonely grandparents to keep in touch with the volunteers and to have someone to talk to when they feel like it), photos (memories from last visits). On holidays the volunteers prepare hand-cards (or they make the cards on the computer) for their grandparents.

Artistic moments are brought by those volunteers in the Rosen Home: singing (also Jewish songs), dancing (the art of dancing is being passed on from the grandparents to the volunteers who barely can keep in step with them). Some organized workshops like making hand-made Hamsas for decorating the rooms of the grandparents, planting flowers for TuBishvat – all workshops are occupational activities performed by the grandparents with the help of the volunteers.

Also, during summer time, the volunteers spend special Oneg Shabat together with their loved grandparents. The volunteers also organized “Intergeneration Meetings” on a picnic outside Bucharest.

On Saturdays, the volunteers visit the elderly Jews at their homes, bring them the newspaper and talk to them. This last activity is done entirely thanks to the logistical support of B’nai B’rith Social Commission (they find the elderly Jews in need of assistance, talk to them and find out whether they need something that FEDROM or SMAD cannot provide for, and if they are willing to receive the volunteers’ visits).

The volunteers are young Jews, members of B’nai B’rith and their Christian friends (Friends of B’nai B’rith – not to be confused with the Support Group of B’nai B’rith). The age of the volunteers is between 17 to 50 years. Sometimes elderly Jews in better health conditions join us to help “their sisters and brothers” in need of help.

“Adopting a Grandparent” Programme doesn’t need a big budget. All it takes for the programme to develop in Bucharest is 250 Euros per month.
The reasons the grandparents and volunteers like this programme are different and varied. What matters in the end is that the experience is being passed on, from the grandparents to the grandchildren, even if we are only talking in terms of adoption. The grandparents find comfort, optimism, hope, joy in talking with the volunteers, and we find knowledge, respect and love for the memories of our lost biological grandparents, maturity and self esteem in knowing that we helped them and brought some light in their hearts, and also put some smiles on their faces. That’s why “this program is so important to us, simply because we care.” (Monica Lazarescu)

Another important action taken up by B’nai B’rith is to help preparing history teachers for the lessons about Holocaust --two hours are dedicated for this subject in the Romanian schools, but there is also an optional course and many pupils are interested.

There are special instructions for these teachers in Romania, but also in Israel, at Yad Vashem. Besides, members of B’nai B’rith Romania, many of them survivors of Holocaust, are invited at schools and universities for lectures about Holocaust and about the history of Judaism and Jewish culture. At the same time they respond to questions asked by pupils, students and their teachers.

The Ministry of Education issued a textbook, “History of Judaism and the Holocaust”. The Romanian Government, together with Claims Conference and the Association of Survivors of Romanian Holocaust sponsored the publication of books relating to these subjects and they are distributed in schools free of charge.
 
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