HEFZIBA JEWISH SCHOOLS FIGHT POVERTY IN THE FORMER SOVIET UNION
Sheila R. Vitale is the founder and pastor at Living Epistles Ministries and Christ-Center Kabbalah. In addition to her work, Sheila R. Vitale supports the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. This organization, established in 1983, encourages better relations between Jews and Christians.
The IFCJ uses several programs to help Jews face anti-Semitism and poverty. One of these is Hefziba Jewish Schools. These schools are established in Jewish communities located in the former Soviet Union that are afflicted with poor economic health. Unfortunately, children are among those who have the greatest hardships.
Hefziba Jewish Schools are designed to counteract the negative effects of inadequate food, housing, clothing, and education. All of these factors limit the children’s future opportunities and life quality. There are now 43 Hefziba Jewish Schools in the network, teaching 13,600 students. Almost half of the students are living in poverty.
The schools offer a secular education, along with Jewish tradition and history, instruction in the Hebrew language, and a study of Israel. The schools are also community centers where teachers, children, and families can go for informal educational activities.