Largest-Ever JDC Conference for FSU Volunteers Promotes Jewish Responsibility and Identity

As volunteers young and old came gathered, the conference kicked off with an opening ceremony where session leaders were introduced to the conference participants. Photo courtesy JDC.

On May 17th-19th over 250 Jewish volunteers and professionals from JDC’s volunteer center network came together just outside Kiev, Ukraine for the organization’s largest-ever volunteer conference focusing on promoting Jewish community responsibility and identity. Participants came from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Georgia.

Conference participants attend a session on how to involve volunteers in fundraising for community needs. Additional workshops included trends in volunteer activities and needs, successful strategies for project management, resource development, PR and marketing, and partnership development. Photo  courtesy JDC.

Since launching in 2014, the network has grown from a handful of passionate local leaders to more than 5,300 volunteers working in forty-four cities in six countries.

Photo courtesy JDC.

During Kabbalat Shabbat, female participants lit candles and recited the traditional blessing. All participants then participated in a Kabbalat Shabbat service – enthusiastically singing along with their arms wrapped around one another – followed by Shabbat dinner.

Photo courtesy JDC.

Among conference highlights was a fair where participants presented their most innovative volunteer programming, with the top three winners receiving prize money to help fund further volunteer training and other initiatives.

The work of JDC’s volunteer network is made possible through JDC’s partnership with the Genesis Philanthropy Group, Jewish Federations, and individual foundations and donors.