Jewish youth projects in Kiev
For centuries Kiev was a city with a very active Jewish life. Repressions and the tacit ban of Jewishness in the Soviet era reduced the activity of the local community. Along with the ban, religious sites and synagogues were turned into factory canteens and puppet theaters, as was the case with the Brodsky synagogue and the Galitsky Synagogue.
Since Ukraine became independent, Jewish life in Kiev has begun to develop once more. Jewish schools, kindergartens and Sunday activities for children have appeared. Over the last five years, independent youth initiatives have been launched by activists of city communities. Jewishnews.com.ua compiled a selection of Jewish youth projects in Kiev which are always glad to receive more people.
The Jewish platform for social initiatives, Juice, began working two and a half years ago. The main area of activity of the project is charity work in the city’s Jewish community. Juice regularly organizes evenings and other events where money is raised for children in need of medical treatment.
Another project initiated by Juice is “Shabbat to go”. Each new participant of the project purchases a ready set for celebrating Shabbat for the sum they are prepared to pay. The money goes to charity.
Liliya Vendrova, founder of the Juice project:
“The idea to create a new project for youth (which became the Juice platform) arose in the summer of 2012. We gathered in a pleasant group once a week, and discussed crazy ideas, names and goals.
The vision of the project changed in that time. Juice became a full youth platform for social initiatives. We launched a number of projects: Chat, Got Torah, Mom's Day Out, DO It Yourself, Shabbat To Go, and Know Your Own People, and we invite people to take part in them.
At each event participants contribute to our Tzedakah (Give Little-Do Big), and thus help needy Jewish children around Ukraine. We publish all report on our Facebook page.
We have provided aid to 20 children thanks to Tzedakah from guests. Over 300,000 hryvnia has been raised since we started. Additionally, we provided 200 displaced persons with necessary items, and organized a small depository.”
Hillel Ukraine is part of the major Jewish youth organization Hillel, which has the goal of involving Jewish youth in the process of reviving Jewish community life, bringing up a new generation of Jewish leaders, studying Jewish history, religion, traditions and culture, forming Jewish self-awareness among young Jews, and realizing programs designed to promote the spiritual development of youth in the sphere of education and culture.
Areas of activity:
Iosif Akselrud, director of Hillel in Ukraine:
“Hillel was founded in Chicago in 1924 on the base of the Jewish organization “B’nai B’rith”, which decided to create its own youth wing and name itself in honor of the wise man Hillel. Hillel originally only existed in America and was organized on the base of student groups on campuses, where all events and meetings were held. The head office of Hillel is now located in Washington. In the 1990s, Hillel came to the CIS. Here it is organized according to a completely different principle: we have Hillel in every city, but not on campus, and in many ways it has become the backbone of the community. There are Hillel centers in all large communities of Ukraine.
All of our programs are designed to inform young people about the Jewish tradition, philosophy, and community, and learn how to leave within it, create it, help and support it. We want them to understand the importance of volunteering and charity. Additionally, we try to teach them how to live, and how to find a place in life. Not necessary in Jewish organizations. But of course we would like them to stay in the community and help others.
Contacts: ul. Krasnoarmeiskaya 30, office 1, +38 044 248 76 98, email@example.com
The charitable-educational foundation “Shiurei Torah Lubavitch” was founded in Dnepropetrovsk, and later an office in Kiev was opened.
In accordance with the precepts of the Lubavitch Rebbe, the all-Ukrainian network of youth clubs “See The Light” was founded. Jewish boys and girls regular attend Torah lessons, lectures and entertainment events. As part of the program, farbrengens, celebrations and regular trips to the USA, Europe and Israel are held.
“See The Light” youth programs include:
The “Project 70” Torah study project – a scholarship program for the young people of Kiev to study Jewish traditions. For ages from 16-28;
The “ADIT” program of long-distance Torah study for young people with restricted movement for health reasons. For ages from 16-30. This is a scholarship program;
On 26 April, at the Brodsky synagogue, the “STL Teens” club was officially opened, the newest and most promising project for Jewish teenagers aged from 13-17.
On 1 June, the “STARS” groups open – a scholarship program for Torah study, relevant and useful lesson topics, the best teachers, and regular trips abroad. For ages from 16-28.
Contacts: ul. Shota Rustaveli, 13, tel: 093-059-34-93, firstname.lastname@example.org
Moishe House is an international project that includes 77 offices all over the world, with an annual attendance of 100,000 people. The organization was founded in the USA. A group of Jewish students decided to rent a house together. They began organizing parties and celebrations for Jewish guests. A donor was found for the interesting project, which turned a private youth initiative into an international project.
The format of the Jewish house has also reached Ukraine. The residents of Moishe House in Kiev hold at least five events every month, inviting everyone who finds them interesting. For obvious reasons, the apartment cannot fit everyone, so it is better to book in advance.
The formats of events at Moishe House are diverse – from cozy gatherings to noisy parties. At meetings at Moishe House, guests learn about Jewish culture and traditions in an informal atmosphere.
Anna Beskorovainaya, resident of Moishe House Kiev:
“Moishe House is everywhere where there is a Jewish community. It is an innovative model of informal Jewish education, support of young leaders, who create a fun home atmosphere for themselves and their peers.
This is a house in the literal sense, in which we harmoniously combine events from Jewish culture and secular life, Jewish education, and everything that we can imagine. Open meetings and lectures with journalists, political analysts, historians, travelers, businessmen and artists broaden the horizons of the guests. These meetings bring inspiration, new ideas and acquaintance. The guests themselves also often show initiative and become speakers, discussing topics they are knowledgeable about. The events are moderated by house residents.
A resident is a person who lives at Moishe House, and is responsible for the order at this house, and its contents. Residents are in contact with guests on social networks, and especially on the day of the event. They meet guests at the door, show them the house and answer all their questions. The address of these apartments is not accessible to a large number of people for safety reasons. To reach us, all you have to do is contact the residents through the official group on Facebook.”
The Ukrainian Union of Jewish Students is an independent public youth initiative, which carries out research and humanitarian projects directed towards the revival and development of traditions of the Ukrainian Jewish community, and strengthening ties with communities of other countries. The UUJS is a member of the executive committee of the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) and the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS).
Since the UUJS renewed its activity in Ukraine in 2005, projects and programs have been realized such as the international project “Atoms of Memory: in search of Jewish life after the accident at Chernobyl”, the first Jewish film festival, the Muslim Jewish Conference, multi-national ethnographic expeditions as part of the program “Preservation of Memory” by the Lo-Tishkach & Genesis Philanthropy group, and others.
For five years, the UUJS has held an international Jewish youth educational forum in winter, “WINTER U”, where participants can study and relax in an international Jewish youth group.
Viktoria Godik, organizer of the UUJS project:
“Charity projects are also an important area of our activity.
One of them is HOPE4HANUKAH, a charity campaign which we hold during Hanukah with the Ukrainian Union of Jewish Students (UUJS) as part of the WUJS campaign.
The aim of our work is to create and support a young and alive, developed and independent Jewish community, which strives to make the world and the country in which it lives better and more comfortable.”
Face to Face was created by the Jewish educational organization “Midrasha Tsionit”. With an educational format, the Face to Face project combines elements of debating and talk-shows.
Two speakers are invited to the project meetings, who examine various vital problems connected with Jewish life in Ukraine and the world. Participation in the project involves a token payment – the meetings take place in creative spaces, and the audience pays to attend. Over 1,000 people have attended the meetings since the project was founded.
Iolanta Veksler, project organizer:
“Face to Face — is a project of the Jewish educational organization “Midrasha Tsionit”. It provides the opportunity to listen to renowned and respected speakers who have achieved success in their field.
Our task was to show the relevance of traditional Jewish thought to even the most unexpected topic from a narrow, professional field. The format of the show with a moderator, in which two viewpoints are presented – professional and Jewish – proved successful and attractive to listeners, and most importantly, it works.
Our speakers have included Valery Pekar, Mustafa Nayem, Vernon Kurz, Pinkhas Rozenfeld, Vladimir Ashurov, Eric Naiman, Eliezer Lesevoi, Alexander Paskhaver, Shlomo Neeman, Eliezer Shargorodsky and Ilya Kenighstein”.
Purim on the Rocks
Meet hundreds of young Jews from across Europe and beyond as we party for Purim together in the heart of Central Europe!
The Jews have only one mission
Historian Vitaly Nakhmanovich discusses how Ukrainian and Jewish historical memory can be reconciled
Shiurey Torah Lubavich youth center opens in Kiev
The STL KIEV Jewish youth education center now works on Zhilyanskaya Street