Rootless Cosmopolitans Gather in Upstate New York

The Platforma Summit team: (l-r) Alexandra Belinski, Lily Lozovsky, Anna Vainer and Victoria Anesh.

by Lea Zeltserman For two-and-a-half days, nearly every conversation begins with a geography lesson. “Where are you from?” “No, I meant today. But yes, and where are you from originally?” An icebreaker quickly reveals that of 60-some people in the room, only one has been born and raised in the same country (the US). The phrase “rootless cosmopolitans” somehow comes to mind. Except, we are very rooted indeed. To our languages, new and old. To our traditions, our family histories, and our identities, confused as we may sometimes be about them. Which is what has brought us all here. It’s been over a week since the first ever Platforma conference wrapped up, and the giddy excitement and enthusiasm shows no signs of abating. The weekend conference, a Schusterman Connection Point, sponsored by … [Read more...]

Global Summit for Russian-Jewish Community Initiators Opens Today

Platforma logo

Some 60 young Russian Jewish professionals from around the world will gather in suburban New York today for “Platforma-International Summit for RSJ Community Initiators,” a three-day global meeting of Russian-Jewish community activists. Platforma brings together representatives of the many growing Russian-speaking Jewish communities around the world, to ensure their voices help shape the greater Jewish dialogue. Platforma participants are mostly from the U.S. but also hail from Israel, Canada, Germany, Poland and Ukraine. Many of these community initiators are young volunteers, in their 20s and 30s, who are not affiliated with any organization and have never been formally trained in community organizing. These young Russian Jews have already launched a series of grassroots projects, including … [Read more...]

Michael Bloomberg Kicks Off $1 Million Global Competition

The Genesis Prize Foundation announced today that the inaugural Genesis Prize Laureate, Mr. Michael R. Bloomberg, has chosen to invest the $1 Million award to create a global competition, named the Genesis Generation Challenge. The new competition will strive to find - and fund - the next big idea that would measurably better the world. The Genesis Generation Challenge is designed to encourage teams of change agents from across the world to submit ideas for projects, guided by Jewish values, that demonstrate innovation and creativity in addressing the world’s pressing issues. Up to 10 winning teams each will be awarded at least $100,000 to implement their initiatives. The competition will officially begin on August 1, 2014 through an online submission process found at www.Genesis-Generation.org. … [Read more...]

Through “Phoenix” Program Israeli Hillel Students Deepen Awareness of Holocaust Issues

by Odelia Sternberg A first-year Mathematics student who as a child was embarrassed to speak Russian in an Israeli school, a third-year Information Systems Engineer student who fell in love with Judaism through the NATIV course, and an MA student in Bio Medical Engineering who started discovering the greater Jewish community through his participation as an Israeli in Taglit-Birthright are some of the Israeli students who were selected to participate in the prestigious "Phoenix" program. Following a long selection process which included on-line applications, personal interviews and a social screening workshop, a group of ten students from Hillel at Ben Gurion University were selected to participate in the "Phoenix" year-long program, which among other activities includes a trip to Poland and … [Read more...]

Taglit-Birthright Israel and Genesis Philanthropy Host Russian-Speaking Training Seminar

RSJ_Taglit Seminar 2014

120 Russian speakers from around the world arrived in Israel this week to attend the Taglit Birthright-Israel tour educator seminar. The one week training seminar is a joint initiative of the Birthright Israel Foundation and Genesis Fund. The Russian speaking seminar was created to give Taglit-Birthright Israel alumni the necessary tools to guide groups arriving to Israel during the summer season and accompaniment upon return to their Jewish communities abroad. This is the 7th Russian speaking training seminar held in cooperation with the Genesis Fund. "The idea of the seminar was born out of the belief the guide is not only responsible for the administrative part of the trip, rather, that they can and should fulfill a leadership role and lead the group during the tour in Israel," said Sana … [Read more...]

Yad Vashem Hosts Conference on Judeo-Bolshevism

by Arik Elman On March 24, 2014, Yad Vashem hosted an international conference entitled "Judeo-Bolshevism": The Crystallization of an anti-Semitic Political Concept. The conference was made possible through the generous support of the Genesis Philanthropy Group and was dedicated to the exploration of roots and development of the one of most poisonous and pernicious myths that laid the ideological and psychological foundations of the Holocaust - the association of the Jewish people with Communist ideas and practices, as “proof” of their eternal enmity towards the “orderly” Christian society, based on traditional morals and property rights. Eight prominent scholars researching the issues of anti-Semitism and inter-ethnic relations from the US, the Netherlands, Poland, the UK and Israel took … [Read more...]

Asylum Arts International Jewish Artist Retreat Opens Today

Tirtzah Bassel, Airport In Security (detail), 10'x44', duct tape on wall, 2013

Unique retreat brings together top young Jewish Artists from around the world Garrison, New York, March 23, 2014 - Some 70 top young Jewish artists from around the world are gathering today in Garrison, NY for the second Asylum Arts International Jewish Artist Retreat. The unique networking and learning experience is intended to connect and empower Jewish artists around the world, ultimately to help cultivate an international community of Jewish artists. The retreat is organized by Asylum Arts, a global network of Jewish artists that has recently launched and aims to engage more people with Jewish ideas, identity and community through the vibrant Jewish and Israeli cultural landscapes. Asylum Arts supports contemporary Jewish culture worldwide, bringing greater exposure to artists and … [Read more...]

Brandeis University Launches Leadership Incubator for Russian-speaking Jewish Communal Professionals

The Brandeis-Genesis Institute for Russian Jewry, in partnership with the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program at Brandeis University, has announced the launch of a professional development program for Russian-speaking Jewish communal professionals. With support from the Genesis Philanthropy Group and the Jim Joseph Foundation, the Brandeis Jewish Leadership Incubator (BJLI) will host a 12-month fellowship for Russian-speaking professionals who work at Jewish communal organizations in the United States and Canada. The program, designed for individuals with one to five years of professional experience, will help to develop the skill-set, knowledge, and strong network of peers that is critical for professional advancement within the North American Jewish community. “To date, Russian … [Read more...]