A beautiful building just opened in the center of Jerusalem called ‘The Finger Residence’ – after the main donor. This “home away from home” will house up to 50 young women from the Former Soviet Union (FSU).
In the end of December, a spectacular dedication ceremony was held at the new building. This event was well attended by dignitaries, students, and staff from Colel Chabad which is Israel’s longest running charity responsible for the care, welfare and Jewish education of the girls in attendance.
Jerusalem’s newly-elected Mayor, Moshe Lion, joined the festivities. Clearly moved by the beauty and attention to detail of this new building, Lion stated that many local hotel managers are planning to visit the facility for ideas on how to refurbish their own buildings.
In recognition that “Colel Chabad knows how to make changes happen,” Lion praised the highly respected organization for their skills: Not only does Colel Chabad handle full arrangements and activities for almost every holiday celebration in Jerusalem, including public lighting of Hanukkah menorahs, supplying visitors to Jerusalem’s Old City during Sukkot (Festival of Tabernacles) and Shavuot (Pentecost) with drinks and snacks, but they also volunteer to take on Israel’s most challenging projects, including feeding and caring for the country’s poverty-ridden citizens.
Several of the new residents at Finger expressed their deep appreciation for having such a lovely place to live, where they can both study for a degree in order to work in Israel and also study Judaism in order to become more connected to their religion.
Ukrainian born Maria Valiviva decided to uproot her life after a trip to Israel through the Taglit (Birthright) program. The 19-year-old explained that if a person wants to change and better their life, the Or Chaya Jewish studies program provided at the Finger Residence by Colel Chabad helps young people find their place in the world and start a new life.
Valiviva shared her gratitude to Colel Chabad for offering such an important opportunity by saying, “It’s amazing to stay in such a beautiful building that was especially prepared for us. Thank you very much to everyone who contributed to this place.”
Twenty-one year old Lea, also from the Ukraine, shared the importance of having a place in Israel to stay which provides a religious environment and the opportunity to grow and continue one’s religious education. “Or Chaya teaches how to grow as a human being and Jewish girl,” she said.
Rabbi Sholom Duchman, Director of Colel Chabad, described the building as “the new pearl of Jerusalem”. The girls are not only provided with attractive living quarters but also receive three meals a day.
“It’s easier to succeed in one’s studies when a person’s basic needs are provided for,” noted Rabbi Levy Duchman, son of Sholom. “These students are lit up with Judaism and Israel!”
Colel Chabad wanted to share this emotional event with their supporters around the world and hired the well known international spokesperson for Israel, Yishai Fleisher. Fleisher told Breaking Israel News that, even though he was paid to MC and narrate the event, (Fleisher is fluent in English, Hebrew and Russian), he felt it was a great merit to participate in Colel Chabad events, describing his participation as a “passion” for this great organization.
“I love working for the Rebbe and the Alter Rebbe [the leaders of Chabad], who sat in prison for sending money to the impoverished citizens in the land of Israel hundreds of years ago,” Fleisher explained. “That is how Colel Chabad began. The organization is very old, very deep and goes to the core of Chabad. That’s on one side.
On the other side, it is a merit to work for an organization which does so much chesed [good deeds helping others], shows kindness to all and gives people a chance and hope for a good life, a new life, for example this Finger Residence – we really are empowering young women in this case to start a new life in Israel.”
Fleisher was clearly moved and impressed with Colel Chabad as he shared with Breaking Israel News, “I love the style that Colel Chabad does things. Everything they do and arrange is done so beautifully and so passionately. Broadcasting this event enabled me to share the beauty of the land of Israel, the return of the Jewish people to their land, the outstanding efforts of Colel Chabad to bring Jews closer to their religion and empower young Russian Jews ladies to reach their full potential and succeed in Israel.”
All attendees at the inauguration expressed their appreciation to the Finger family and to Colel Chabad for their generosity and care. The universal statements were that Colel Chabad literally saves lives every day in the Holy Land through their network of social welfare programs. These include 22 soup kitchens throughout the country, special care of widows and orphans, and now, the Finger Residence which not only provides for the physical wellbeing of so many but also their spiritual growth.
To donate to Colel Chabad’s network of social welfare programs, please click here.
Written in cooperation with Colel Chabad.