New Guide Sheds Light On Exciting Advances in European Jewish Life

Compass, the first-ever guide to more than thirty of Europe’s most innovative and effective Jewish organizations and programs, has just been released by the Westbury Group, an informal network of international Jewish philanthropic organizations and individual funders.

The handbook highlights a revival of activity and engagement in the Jewish communities of Europe and the former Soviet Union. Copies of Compass are now available online in a downloadable PDF on the Compass Website.

According to Sanford R. Cardin, president of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and chair of the Westbury Group, “Reading Compass will help everyone deepen their understanding of what is happening today in Jewish communities throughout Europe and, we hope, lead to new sources of support from those who share our passion and commitment to the Jews of Europe, including the former Soviet Union.”

Conceived of as a timely guide to enlighten readers about burgeoning European Jewish organizations and programs, Compass reflects the breadth and depth of Jewish activity across the cultural, historical and religious spectrum of European Jewish life in fifteen countries.

Compass includes profiles of thirty-six Jewish organizations that were chosen by a group of assessors who had to select from 110 contenders. The organizations were selected based on their role in demonstrating new and effective ways to serve individual European Jewish communities, strengthen Jewish culture in Europe, ensure the richness, diversity and vibrancy of Jewish life in Europe, facilitate collaboration and cooperation with other minorities, and for their ability to build relationships in mainstream culture.

From the recent boom of organizations and programs in countries with small or dwindling Jewish communities, to the recognition of several region-wide initiatives, Compass recognizes the changing face of Jewish life in the region. Organizations range from Limmud International (its annual conference in England has sprouted similar events in more than forty Jewish communities spanning twenty-six countries worldwide) to Marom (an alternative Jewish community center in the heart of Budapest that fosters dialogue among young Jews and with Jewish as well as non-Jewish organizations) to RCM (a project that helps teachers introduce a Jewish-related curriculum in Moscow schools).

“Jewish communities across Europe face a variety of different challenges and many have had to reinvent themselves after massive political changes in the 20th century or are facing a diminishing community’” said Dan Berelowitz, executive director of Tzedek, an NGO based in the U.K. that draws upon the skills and resources of the Jewish community to combat poverty in the developing world. “The current generation of European Jews are not held back by the events of last century – instead we are looking forward to how we can shape our own community.”

You can find more information about the Westbury Group along with a complete list of the organizations in Compass on their Website.