Steering Committee for Social Center Activities Formed

Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky has issued a directive to establish the Steering Committee of Stakeholders for Social Committee Activities. The task of the committee is make and implement essential decisions on Social Center activities, including the need for specific actions, structure of the center, its budget, new programs and other matters.

The committee is constituted of the following community leaders: Faina Kukliansky; deputy chairwoman Maša Grodnik; the doctors Ella Gurina (a member of the LJC executive board) and Arkadijus Goldinas; Kaunas Jewish Community chairman Gercas Žakas; Šiauliai Jewish Community chairman Josifas Buršteinas; ghetto organization representatives Rozeta Ramonienė and Gita Grinmanienė; and JDC representatives Baltic Region director Moni Beniosev and Baltic States Welfare director Marina Astanovskaja. Simas Levinas and Michailas Segal represent the LJC Social Center on the committee. The meeting was exemplary with Žakas, Grodnikienė, Beniosev and the doctors Gurina and Goldinas sharing interesting ideas.

Chairwoman Faina Kukliansky summed up the meeting and promised to consider the committee’s proposals in drawing up the LJC budget for 2016. Meetings are planned every quarter.

There has been much discussion within the LJC recently on the social programs and support and aid for elderly members of the community under existing criteria for the allocation of financial aid. The Social Center adheres strictly to the rules in deciding which cases are eligible for aid and support. Regional Jewish community chairpeople have approached the chairwoman of the LJC with suggestions for improving criteria for allocating financial support.

Kaunas Jewish Community chairman Gercas Žakas said LJC chairwoman Kukliansky had had to make a Solomonic decision to create the special committee for solving social issues. He raised the issue of greater attention to people under the NNV status, or Not Nazi Victims. These members of the Jewish community are now around 70 and many suffer from diseases and very low income.

Žakas said the ceiling on income received now in force should be raised. The committee was in favor of the proposal to reconsider criteria for allocation of support. Currently recipients of support are divided into two groups: NV or Nazi Victims and NNV, Not Nazi Victims. The latter only receive aid if their incomes don’t exceed 232 euros, the amount set in the rules. If they have greater income, they are ineligible. If their incomes don’t exceed that amount, then they have the right to participate in the Maxima and other programs. Žakas felt the amount should be raised by at least 30 euros. He also proposed increased financing for children participating in Social Center programs. He proposed redesignating Jewish war veterans from the NNV to NV category, saying that there were very few of these veterans still alive and they should have the status of victims or sufferers of war in order to be eligible for participation in the NV programs. The proposal was adopted that in considering people over 85 for support, existing income wouldn’t be taken into consideration. If such a community member requests help, he or she is eligible.

LJC chairwoman Kukliansky accepted all the proposals with enthusiasm. The new budget will be drafted in the near future. Greater funding would be needed to adopt the proposals, she noted. Social Center director Simas Levinas said to satisfy the wishes of the regional communities, a bigger budget would be needed. He said all allocations have to take place within the budget, and added if we have 1,000 euros, we can’t give out 1,001 euros. If more money does become available, it will be given to clients, and next year’s budget hadn’t been drawn up yet, he noted.