For 106 years The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund has provided direct assistance to those who are struggling. The Y is pleased that for another year, through our partnership with UJA-Federation of New York, we were able to secure funding so we could support a member of our community. Here’s the story behind the The New York Times story.
In 1994 Anatoliy Krongauz found his new home at the Y as soon as he resettled in Washington Heights as a Jewish refugee from the former Soviet Union. Hard of hearing, raising his 24-year-old deaf daughter, taking care of his disabled wife and his elderly mother-in-law, Anatoliy did not have an easy start in New York.
For 100 years, the Y has a distinguished history of serving refugees, immigrants, and other vulnerable populations, offering them invaluable support, restoring dignity and humanity after a long standing history of oppression and trauma. No wonder the Y became everything for him: Russian-speaking case workers offered help with benefits and his mother-in-law was offered a beautiful, subsidized apartment in the Y’s Wien House. But Anatoliy’s relationship with the Y wasn’t one directional; he volunteered his talents and organized a chess class for Russian-speaking immigrants.
These days when he comes to the Y, you can often find Anatoliy in Entitlements Coordinator Natalia Pchelintseva’s office. There she patiently translates, makes important phone calls, and offers solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems. He is a recipient of hot meals generously sponsored by Temple Emanu-el and a frequent participant in programs offered by the Center for Adults Living Well @ the Y.
Anatoliy relied on an iPad to stay connected to loved ones and engaged in his hobbies. Due to a hearing impairment, he depended on the electronic device for better communication as the built-in camera enabled him to lip reading. Beyond being able to keep in touch with his old friends and family who live in Israel, Russia, and Ukraine, the iPad allowed him to do other things he loves, like photographing Fort Tryon Park with its ever changing landscape, and continuing to learn about planting, engineering, and electronics.
Recently Anatoliy reached out to Natalia asking for help with his broken iPad. The 80 year old and his 76-year-old wife live on limited income and could not afford a replacement. That’s where the Neediest Case Fund became a solution; as a designated agency that receives allocations from the Fund, we were able to purchase a brand new iPad for Ananotliy. Once again his quality of life is enriched by being able to easily stay in touch with loved ones around the globe, and he uses the new device to practice lessons learned in the Y’s free computer classes, master social media, and enjoy his hobbies.
Anatoliy’s complicated story moved Bonnie Chernin at UJA, who advocated for The New York Times do a special profile on him. Read The New York Times profile here and don’t forget to click on the article’s links for the accurate depiction of lives of the Soviet Jews living under the totalitarian anti-Semitic regime. Read about other families the Y has helped through Neediest Cases here.
By Victoria Neznansky, Chief Development and Social Services Officer