Nine tonnes of humanitarian aid sent to Belarus

Last week, The Together Plan dispatched its latest shipment of humanitarian aid to Belarus. Our Directors Debra Brunner and Artur Livshyts, along with a collection of amazing volunteers, spent the entire morning and early afternoon on Sunday 30 September packing and loading resources onto the lorry. The material being loaded included countless sacks of clothing, musical instruments, a wardrobe destined to become an ark, as well as other pieces of furniture.

Roughly nine tonnes’ worth of material was loaded onto the lorry by our volunteers, who generously gave up their free time to do so. The Together Plan would like to thank everyone who helped, because without them this simply would not have been possible. This delivery represents the latest phase in our ongoing commitment to provide humanitarian aid to communities in Belarus. The loading was completed in the afternoon and the lorry set off for Belarus the following day.

High Holy Day Appeal

On behalf of everyone at The Together Plan we’d like to wish all of our supporters celebrating Rosh Hashanah this week a Shana Tova u’metuka – a very happy and sweet new year.

This festive season is a particularly significant milestone for The Together Plan, as we look back on our first half-decade ahead of our fifth birthday on 10th October. We’ve achieved a remarkable amount in this short time, due entirely to the generosity of people like you: those who have given their money or time; donated unwanted clothes to our humanitarian aid project or volunteered for us; come along to an event or simply read our newsletter each week. We couldn’t have done it without you.

At this time of year, we are encouraged to reflect on our actions over the year past, and on the person that we would like to be in the year ahead. As communities across Belarus prepare to enter a new year, with all the achievements and challenges that entails, we ask you to help them realise their ambitions for 5779. There’s so much to do: the Minsk Ghetto Survivors’ Association will launch their first ever English-language book in late October; the enormous task of restoring the Great Synagogue of Slonim will get underway; the final touches will be put to a comprehensive, multi-denominational online liturgy and music resource; and communities across Belarus will continue to provide a much-needed cultural and spiritual home for their members.

For this reason, we’ve launched a High Holy Day appeal, which will run until the end of December. Donations of any size will be greatly appreciated and will make a huge difference to our communities in Belarus.

This Rosh Hashanah, will you help us make our vision for 5779 a reality?

You can donate online using the form below.

Donate online now


The Together Plan to use my personal data in order to process my payment. We will contact you to issue a receipt, and with any future communications you opt to receive at the next step. See our data protection policy. We receive 100% of all donations (less card charges).

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Russian Jews: Before The Revolution

📅 Sunday 29th July 2018

🕢 7.00pm

🗺 Edgware & Hendon Reform Synagogue
118 Stonegrove, Edgware HA8 8AB [map]

🎟️ Free admission (RSVP essential)

The Together Plan and Edgware & Hendon Reform Synagogue Belarus Project present Before the Revolution, part one of a recently made trilogy telling the story of the Russian Jews.

A fascinating epic, Russian Jews follows their rich and complex history from 11th century through the collapse of the Soviet Union. Created and narrated by acclaimed journalist Leonid Parfenov, the trilogy highlights Jewish contributions to Russian and Soviet societies. The stories which Leonid Parfenov so masterfully depicts in the trilogy deserve a stage to be retold. Why was the phenomenon of Russian Jewry so significant for Soviet life, but, just as significant for the anti-Soviet movement? Why does it continue to impact the post-Soviet reality in the countries of the former Soviet Union as well as beyond their borders? These and other important questions emerge from the trilogy to help engage its audience in this ever-important intellectual discourse.

Part Two (1914–1948) and Part Three (after 1948) will follow on future Film Nights.

If members of the EHRS community would like to offer to make cakes/cookies or help at the screening please contact Debra at

reserve tickets

Book tickets using the form below, or contact us on 0203 375 0656 or at

Maccabi Fun Run

On 24th June our dedicated (and perhaps crazy) team are stepping up to support The Together Plan by taking part in the Maccabi Fun Run. Together we’ll run, walk, hop, skip and dance through a distance of 10km, 5km or 1km (or all three!) in support of communities in the former Soviet Union.


The Together Plan works to revive community in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, currently focusing on Belarus. Through close partnership with our communities we help them to grow, connect and become self-sufficient, giving vulnerable and isolated people control over their lives. Our humanitarian aid project annually distributes over 20 tonnes of vital supplies to more than 10,000 people throughout Belarus.

Or why not Register to run or walk with us and start getting sponsorship yourself!

Meet Our Runners

Click on the photos to find out more about us or to sponsor an individual runner.

Coral Ash


Sponsor Me

Middle aged teacher/tutor of Drama and English who likes to keep as fit as possible in preparation for events such as these.  Happy to a support charity in any way I can and as I’m not singing at the moment, will have to utilise an alternative part of the anatomy to fundraise.

Jonathan Bennett


Sponsor Me

I am an ardent Liverpool FC fan, and Boots Optician in Cockfosters so between the day job and the football there is little time for training walks. But as a fellow BNI member with Debra Brunner – I decided it was time to step up and out for a charity that supports the isolated and vulnerable, community development and revives Jewish life in the town my family came from! Please support this determined, passionate and transparent charity doing really great work.

Debra Brunner


Sponsor Me

Some of you will know that I’m a fan of power walking and Belarus, and several years ago I combined those loves and walked 4 marathons in one week in support of communities and individuals in need! Crazy, yes, but the pain and the blisters was worth the effort and the support raised contributed towards the growth of community programmes in the former Soviet Union that would otherwise never have happened. So to continue and develop the work that has now been started, we are getting out in force on June 24th to garner support for the next phase of developments. I hate running, have never been a runner, and don’t know how! But we have to step up, right? New challenges, new horizons, new mindset!! So this is a first. Please get behind me and The Together Plan Team in this new challenge (and my first ever 5K run) – I for one am going to need all the support I can get!! Thanks for all the belief!!

Ben Burman


Sponsor Me

I’m a hardworking determined guy who likes to challenge himself. Running has always been a sort of meditation and it’s one my favourite things to do to relax and unwind. This will be my second Maccabe fun run and I’m looking forward to raising more more for the together plan and to take part in such a great event.

Martin Carroll


Sponsor Me

I’m Martin Carroll and I’m 36 years old. I’m a professional fitness trainer and boxing coach. I’m passionate about health, fitness, food, and helping others do what they think they can’t. I’m raising money for The Together Plan because I recognise I am blessed to be healthy and happy and therefore I want to give back to those less fortunate than myself.

Adrian Dayne


I am stepping out to do the Maccabi Fun Run to support the fantastic work of The Together Plan. I fully recognise the dedication and hard work that is going into growing this small and impactful charity, bringing positive change to the lives of other people and I am glad to do my small bit to help.

Ian Fidler


This 10K run will be my first ever charity run. Having seen first hand the work of The Together plan in Belarus I cant think of a better cause to ease myself into charity running. It was early 2017 when I started jogging and only a couple of times a month for a while. It was the summer months when I mapped out a local 5k route that I’d run more regularly, often ramping it up to 10K. It’s enjoyable in a brutal way sometimes! At the start of 2018 I tried Park Run which has given me the experience of running with others whose mere presence around me is motivation to run quicker. Running this 10K for the Together Plan will be an honour.

Katie Hainbach


I work at Alyth Synagogue as Head of Music & Arts. I grew up in Dublin, Ireland and was completely uninterested in sports and keeping fit at school. However in 2016 I caught the running bug and went on to complete the London Marathon in April 2017, raising over £3000 for The Stroke Association in the process. My love of running has continued since my first marathon and I have now completed 3 half marathons and numerous 10Ks and am about to run my second marathon in Manchester. I’m looking forward to taking part in the Maccabi GB Community Fun Run 10K in June and raising lots of money for The Together Plan.

David Heller


I’m Chief Pharmacist of a NHS Trust in Surrey and in my spare time I’m Chairman and Warden at Sutton Synagogue. I’ve run a couple of 10k events before but not for a couple of years, so I’m going Couch to 10k in about the time the NHS says Couch to 5k! When I told Debra that I was going to run the Maccabi event, she suggested a Brunner- Heller joint venture – so here I am, preparing to run 10k and raising some money for the Together Plan.

Team Herz–Barsam


Sponsor Me

We are running for The Together Plan to help raise essential funds for remote communities in the former Soviet union. We are not seasoned runners but are looking forward to the challenge.

Lindsey Jacobs


Sponsor Me

I’m a local caterer, running a kosher style business.  I’m supremely unfit but think the Together Plan is a charity worth breaking my lazy habits for!

Helen Kaplinsky


I’m doing a 5k walk with my father Simon Kaplinsky. Your support will help raise funds for the very early stages of his plans to restore a synagogue in Belarus. We are both agnostic, this is not about religion. It’s about making the history and cultures Jews in Eastern Europe valued and visible to generations growing up in the shadow of the Holocaust and Soviet communism.

Background: My father’s family are from Slonim, in Belarus, a small town that was a Shtetl. Jewish culture flourished and had relative autonomy there between the 16th and mid 19th century. Today when you google Slonin the first suggested search that comes up is ‘Slonim massacre’. Despite this, these events, as well as the history of Jews is mostly hidden from view in the country itself, only recently being illuminated by the wonderful historian and curator Tamara Vershitskaya. She established the Museum of Jewish resistance and was the tour guide for our family’s visit in 2016. I grew up with stories of my grandfather (who i didn’t ever meet) waking up each morning, one day a Russian citizen, the next day a Pole. As a young boy he was kidnapped by the Russian army and had to dress as a girl to escape back to his family. So, as it goes my grandfather managed to leave Belarus and ended up in Cape Town (where my father was born), whilst his siblings had awful traumatic experiences which cannot be recounted here. His parents perished in a fire in the synagogue. That grand Baroque building built between 1635–42 has been left to crumble ever since the fire. From a recent report it has been identified as number 2 on the list of ruined synagogues of historical and cultural interest in Eastern Europe and so we are hoping to capitalise on this and begin plans to restore it. We hope that it might become a centre to discuss and share the richness of Jewish culture in the region over the 400 years they were settled there.

Simon Kaplinsky


Once an average but enthusiastic sportsman I now have to make allowances for age and poor knee joints. I will do the 5k walk enthusiastically, but most likely slower than the everyone else. I am fundraising to support our exciting project to renovate the Great Synagogue in Slonim, the town where my father was born.

Aleksi Knuutila


Though intermittently an enthusiastic runner, I will do the 5k walk together with my partner Helen Kaplinsky and her dad Simon Kaplinsky. They are working on a project to restore a synagogue in Belarus, in a town called Slonim. It is a place with a connection to their family and a very tragic story to it. The 17th century synagogue, once a centre for lively and autonomous Jewish minority, has been in ruins since the second world war. With my walk I wish to give a small contribution towards these efforts to restore the synagogue to be a place for remembering Jewish life in the region.

Josh Leitner


Sponsor Me

My name is Josh Leitner and at the age of 47 I took up running last year for the first time. I will be running  (along with my trainer), on my fourth ever 10k. Really proud to be representing and competing on behalf  Debra Brunner and her Together Plan Charity, doing such amazing work  with  communities in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. My first target is of course to actually complete the race and then really  anything below 60 minutes will be a massive bonus.

Laura Phillips


Sponsor Me

Five years ago my husband, son and I were lucky enough to go on a trip to Belarus with a group of families from our community in Finchley, all who had children going through the Bar Mitzvah programme. I was struck by the kindness and sense of community growing in Polotsk thanks to the work of the charity – here we met a fantastic group of people who were unaware of their heritage but desperate to learn and become part of a real community with tradition and substance. I was brought up not knowing where exactly my great-great-grandparents came from, but I realised then how similar our backgrounds were likely to be and felt a connection. A few years later I did a DNA ancestry test and discovered my DNA is 97% Eastern European, pinpointed around Belarus, Russia and Poland. So the saying ‘Their people are my people’ is really true. This is why I am supporting the great work The Together Plan do in bringing back Jewish community and culture to areas who sadly lost their history in horrific times.



Pickle & Paint

📅 Sunday 20th May 2018

🕢 3:30pm

🗺 Finchley Reform Synagogue
101 Fallow Ct Ave, London N12 0BE [map]

🎟️ Standard £10 | Concession £8

Have you ever wondered how to pickle and why pickling was so  important in Eastern Europe? Do you know why we put stones on  Jewish graves and not flowers? And have you ever tried to turn a stone into a flower?

Come and join this family friendly Shavuot afternoon, join our pickling workshop, paint a stone and learn more about the Jews of Eastern Europe today. A community event for all ages.

Bring a pickling jar, green beans to pickle and a stone to paint (Information will be emailed on registration).

Paints, brushes and spices will be provided.

Finchley Reform Synagogue 101 Fallowcourt Avenue N12 0BE

Entry: £10.00, children under 16 and concessions £8.00

Includes tea and cake (including Belarusian cheesecake).

All proceeds raised will go to the FRS Belarus Project supporting the Jewish Educational Cultural Centre in Polotsk

reserve tickets

Book tickets using the link below, or contact us on 0203 375 0656 or at

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Belarusian Cultural Evening at Edgware & Hendon Reform Synagogue

📅 Sunday 8th April 2018

🕢 7:30pm—10:00pm

🗺 Edgware & Hendon Reform Synagogue
118 Stonegrove, Edgware HA8 8AB [map]

🎟️ Standard £15 | Concession £10

10% discount for Friends of The Together Plan!
Sign up now to become a Friend.

Join us for a stimulating interactive evening of Belarusian culture in support of Jewish communities in Belarus and the former Soviet Union.

Written and created by three young people with a passion for Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and Jewish and Yiddish culture, this live revue gives a fascinating and moving account of our collective history, achievements, hopes and dreams.

Join us on a journey journey through the rich history, culture and traditions of Belarus through poetry, music, film, history, Yiddish, and more. Sample Belarusian vodka, enjoy traditional delicacies including herring and hand-made pickles, and connect with like-minded people in a welcoming and informal setting, supporting EHRS’s Belarus Project in partnership with The Together Plan.

There will be a reception with traditional Belarusian drinks and snacks, tea & coffee, and light refreshments, followed by the main performance. The event will last approximately 2 ½ hours including reception and interval.

reserve tickets

To book tickets, please use the form below, or contact The Together Plan office on 0203 375 0656 or at For reasons of security tickets are not transferable. When booking tickets, please ensure the names of all guests are correct. We cannot guarantee your entry if your ticket is not in your name.

Download the FLyer

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Visiting the headstones in the snow

While in Slutsk we stopped to visit the reclaimed headstones that were collected around the town of Slutsk last year. Headstones that long ago were removed from the Jewish cemetery and used as building materials. The headstones are now in safe storage and will be the subject of a memorial once the snow thaws. Whilst on our trip, we saw them in their heavy snow overcoats, a powerful remnant reminder of the rich Jewish community that once lived and thrived in Slutsk.

UK Director flies to Belarus to visit projects

Over the weekend, seven members of the UK and Belarus TTP team visited the Slutsk Jewish Community,  and met with the children of the Sunday School and the Slutsk community leaders. In minus 17 degrees the team drove through the snow across the country and were met with smiling faces and warm tea. Much was discussed. The community in Slutsk is in need of support. TTP’s Youth for Youth ambassadors from Polotsk, Bobruisk and UK will be creating new programmes for the youth in Slutsk. The TTP team will be building new growth strategies for community development. Exciting future for Slutsk and we will be looking for support partners to help this community to develop.

100th Anniversary Commemoration of the Belarusian Army and a Special Shabbat

The survivors of the Minsk Ghetto had a special event organised by The Together Plan to mark this special day in the Belarusian calendar. Our Youth for Youth ambassadors led a special Kabbalat Shabbat service, followed by supper and entertainment by a professional Belarusian singer and performer who serenaded the community and sent everyone off into the cold night with smiles, song and laughter in their hearts.

Aid Together – Humanitarian Aid Reaching Recipients in Minsk

Humanitarian aid collected and sorted in the UK was distributed in Belarus. The Together Plan team spent several days in the warehouse in Minsk selecting donations from the most recent consignment of aid. These were transported to a distribution centre and recipients were invited to select items. Minsk Ghetto survivors and family members were among the recipients. In sub-zero weather, warm coats, boots, scarves, hats and knitted blankets were much needed and gratefully received.