Maria Grinev will be having a very Russian summer. In Israel.
Grinev is one of 20 Canadians who will be going on the first Canadian Taglit-Birthright Israel trip designed specifically for Russian Jews, called the CIE Canadian Russian Adventure.
The trip, which runs from July 11 to 22, will have 20 participants from Canada and 20 from St. Petersburg, all of whom will be traveling with Russian Jewish soldiers from the Israel Defence Forces.
For Grinev, the trip is a chance to merge two cultures, something she’s been struggling with since she immigrated to Israel from Russia when she was six, and then to Canada when she was 11.
… Lior Cyngiser, CIE’s madrichim co-ordinator, hopes the trip will inspire participants to get involved in their local Jewish community. “We’re using Birthright Israel as a vehicle not only to make connections between Russia and Toronto, but to make connections to the Toronto community itself,” he said, adding that this can be done through events and programming for Birthright alumni.
Cyngiser sees the trip as a way to explore three different cultures and perspectives.
“[The Canadian Russian Jewish population] will be able to be more comfortable about sharing their cultural backgrounds and, at the same time, will realize how much they have in common with Jewish Russian Israelis and Jews from Russia,” he said. “This trip will hit different personal and cultural key points that a regular trip wouldn’t have.”