As we reflect on the journey of The Together Plan, celebrating its tenth year as a charity, it is with immense gratitude that we acknowledge the growing global family that has connected with us over the years. More and more people from around the world have reached out, sharing their family stories, seeking assistance with family research, and commissioning us to document the towns where their ancestors once thrived.
In a significant milestone for us, 2021 marked the successful registration of the ‘Jewish Tapestry Project‘ by our dedicated leader, Debra Brunner. This registration has given The Together Plan a meaningful presence in the United States. This October, Debra donned her Jewish Tapestry Project hat during an action-packed two weeks in New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. Her mission: to build connections, foster collaborations, and cultivate the growth of our organisation.
During this whirlwind tour, Debra engaged with esteemed organisations and individuals such as JewishGen at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the Center for Jewish History, the Streicker Centre at Temple Emanu-El, Miriam Weiner, founder of the Routes to Roots Foundation, authors, professors, Rabbis, educators, and activists. The enthusiasm and support received during these meetings have fortified our commitment to the mission of The Together Plan and the Jewish Tapestry Project.
Debra’s first meeting on arrival in New York was with JewishGen at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. As she nagivated the NY subway and walked through Battery Park she stopped at a breathtaking bronze sculpture and took a photo. It was only on her return to the UK that she did some research to find out more about this memorial. The sculpture is called ‘The Immigrants’ and was commissioned by the Rudin Family. On deeper investigation – the story connects to a Samuel Rudinsky who was born in 1896 to Belarusian immigrant parents who arrived in the USA in 1883. To read his wonderful story click here. The inscription on the memorial reads:
DEDICATED TO THE PEOPLE OF ALL NATIONS / WHO ENTERED AMERICA THROUGH CASTLE GARDEN / IN MEMORY OF SAMUEL RUDIN / 1896-1975 / WHOSE PARENTS ARRIVED IN AMERICA IN 1883
At the heart of our work is the support we provide to communities in the former Soviet Union, guiding them through revival in a post-Soviet space, all through the lens of Jewish cultural heritage. While our current focus lies in Belarus, where we’ve witnessed a very real and positive impact, we recognise that there is still much work to be done.
One poignant undertaking is the effort to memorialise significant Jewish heritage sites, particularly in the south of Belarus. The Brest-Litovsk Jewish cemetery, now devoid of visible tangible markers, stands as a testament to a rich history. No gravestones, no signposts, no fences – a silent resting place for those who came before. The Together Plan and the Jewish Tapestry Project have embarked on a crucial project to build a significant memorial at the cemetery site, incorporating over 1200 salvaged matzevot that once stood as guardians of memory.
This is not just a project; it’s a live campaign, and your support is pivotal. For more details, please visit the Brest-Litovsk Jewish Cemetery Campaign. As Debra traversed the United States, discussions about this project resonated in every meeting. The goal now is to reach individuals with connections to Brest, and we are hopeful that the Jewish Tapestry Project will play a lead role in this noble endeavour.
As we continue to weave the tapestry of our shared heritage, we invite you to join us on this journey. Your support, stories, and connections are the threads that bind us together, creating a vibrant and resilient fabric that transcends borders.
Thank you for being an integral part of The Together Plan family.