Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life is pleased to announce the fourth annual High Holy Day Initiativein the Former Soviet Union (FSU) in partnership with the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Between September 6th and September 16, 2002, over 150 locally-trained Jewish university student "Para-rabbis," hailing from 7 former Soviet republics, will bring the sweetness of the Jewish New Year to tens of thousands of Jews in the FSU. These specially trained Hillel "Para-rabbis" will conduct the ancient ceremonies in makeshift synagogues throughout Jewish communities, cities and shtetlach (small towns) bringing the food, songs, and traditions of the past to Jews of all ages.
The Hillel High Holiday Initiative affects all who participate. For elderly Jews, often living in isolated towns throughout the FSU, the enthusiasm and spirit of the young infuses them with a new sense of Jewish connection. For Hillel FSU students, taking on leadership roles in their communities helps them embrace their grandparents' generation while honing the skills necessary to build a vibrant Jewish future in the FSU. What makes the Hillel High Holiday Initiative so unique is that it is student initiated and student run, reaffirming the younger generation's commitment to the Jewish People.
"What began as a pilot initiative four years ago has grown dramatically to include thousands of students, their families and friends, children and the elderly," explains Rabbi Yossie Goldman, the director of Hillel in the FSU. "Student-run services cater to a community searching for its Jewish roots, and committed to rejuvenating Jewish life after 75 years of Communist oppression." This year, Hillel students are expected to run services in over 60 locations for 25,000 people.
Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life has been active in the FSU since 1994, when it established its first Hillel center in Moscow. The network has grown to 27 centers and is providing guidance and materials to an additional 60 nascent student groups -- from as far as the Caucasus Mountains of Tbilisi, Georgia, to the steppes of Siberia, and as far off as the far eastern city of Khabarovsk, near the Chinese border. Hillel in the FSU was established through the support of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation in partnership with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life.
For further information about the Hillel High Holiday Initiative, please contact:
Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, Divisional Center in Jerusalem
Tel. 972-02-588-2730 Fax: 972-02-581-1140