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  Rosh-ha-Shannah (New Year) as other holidays like this is brining faith in good and hope of happy future and prosperity. This day people ask each other for forgiveness and warmly wish all the best to each other. It is very important for each person wherever he/she lives to get a gift, a portion of happiness.
This year Rosh-ha-Shannah has been celebrated on 17 September; that is why Valeriy Berkman, the Director of "Hesed-On-Wheels" Program of Almaty Hesed Polina and Natalya Ilyina, the Head of "Mazal Tov" Program went to oblast cities to deliver food packages, warm clothes, Jewish press and literature to the clients there and to celebrate them with the New Year. Two nearest to Almaty small cities - Burunday City and Kaskelen City became the goal of this visit. Both of them are the service sector of Hesed-On-Wheels Program.

  Nowadays a lot people of different ethnicities, different ages and different places of living lead a very hard life. And Jews are no exception. It is a notorious fact that the far you move from a big city, the harder life you have. The main problem of small cities is unemployment. Most of the people there do not have any stable job and wages. Some of the factories are closed; some are sold to foreign companies. Kaskelen and Burunday cities are just the most typical small cities that have such problems.

  But life is life. In spite of all problems children come into this world, they come to bring happiness to their parents, children are their future, their hope. The life of the adults is not simple but they try to keep their national traditions and inculcate them to their children...

  In Burunday City the first place of the visit about 30 people gathered in Warm House of Yelena Butenko. Everybody could feel the atmosphere of foretaste of the holiday. The table was laid; of course, there were traditional apples, honey, pomegranates and fish heads. The name of this dish not only the exact translation of the name of the holiday but the symbol of the beginning, the "head" of the year. Everybody was waiting only for the children back from Jewish Sunday school. They came very soon wearing white shirts, suits, kipas and tsitsit under suits. They looked very elegant according to the holiday.

  Finally everybody sat at the table; and Natalya Ilyina told about the history and the ritual of the holiday. Then traditional candles were lit and prayers on bread and wine were said. Why did the food that day seem so good: apples with honey just wonderful and stuffed fish very delicious? When lunch was finished adults started listening to the national Jewish songs and children began playing and having fun. The time to give presents came and people got their food packages, medicine, warm clothes and books from the library.
Here lives the head and the patriarch of the united Jewish family Esya Kaversun. Her children, grandchildren and grand grandchildren live not only in Burunday but also in Israel. She is a very bright person who did lose neither good spirit nor optimism.

  Aside of giving presents the program "Hesed-On-Wheels" has some other aims. One of them is collecting detailed information about the clients - about their health, life conditions and family. It is very important because support is addressed to certain people. Therefore, the next part of the day was dedicated to collecting information. And after it was collected, our representatives continued their trip.

  The next city was Kaskelen. The warm house in Kaskelen has been working since November last year. The name of its head is Olga Getmanovich. Before the warm House was established Olga and her relatives knew nothing about national traditions. Now, however, they read Jewish press regularly, they are interested in Jewish life and national holidays. For the first time Olga Gratova - the person with a hard life was invited to the Warm House. Her daughter Yelena had an accident a year ago and was badly injured. Olga lost a job and had to take care of her daughter and their house. She told tearfully how she and her daughter managed to survive last winter without any money, without a coal and practically without food. Hesed assistance was just in time for them. Olga like many other Jews was cut off from traditions, and this Rosh-ha-Shannah was her first Jewish holiday. Here, in Burunday, the information about the clients was also collected.

  Thus, mixing joy and sorrow, the inhabitants of small cities celebrated Rosh-ha-Shannah this year. Of course, every city celebrated the holiday its own way, but there was something what united people - hope. Hope to renew the ancient culture and wish to find spiritual values lost some time ago. The main purpose of Hesed work is to help people in this. And Hesed will be working on this in the nearest future. "During Rosh-ha-Shannah sentence is written down, and during fast Yom Kippur it is knitted with a seal: who will live, who will die, who will die at the end of the life, who - untimely; who will die of water, who - of fire厀ho will be wealthy, who - poor! But the repentance, pray and welfare can revoke the heavy sentence", - is written in Torah.

Happy and sweet New Year!

Warm House in Burunday is full of guests
Warm House in Burunday is full of guests
  Students of Sunday Jewish school
Students of Sunday Jewish school
  Esya Kaversun - the head and patriarch of a big united family
Esya Kaversun - the head and patriarch of a big united family
  Natalya Ilyina is lightening candles
Natalya Ilyina is lightening candles
  Traditional apples with honey - the symbol of sweet year
Traditional apples with honey - the symbol of sweet year
  Children will remember the joyful holiday
Children will remember the joyful holiday
  Kaskelen Warm House gathered people whose life is hard
Kaskelen Warm House gathered people whose life is hard
Liliana Kabirova, Marina Pangayeva,
photos by Liliana Kabirova
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