Welcome to Lugansk, Ukraine

The following text was written by Vadim Yarylchenko and translated from its original Russian by Ezra Moses 

The Jewish community of Lugansk, Ukraine, has many partcipants between the ages of 12-16. “Hesed Ner,” the community center, has a teen club for them. Every Sunday we have programs for them between 2-5:00 pm, as well, we gather to celebrate Shabbat and all the Jewish holidays.

We have over 40 participants in our teen club, which is managed by Natalie Sitnikova, who invests a lot of time in developing strong Jewish programming for this age group. Our focus has been developing teen leadership and the values of volunteerism and community involvement, which has helped us win grants to further our development as a group. Our successes have been incredible as our teenagers have become ever more active and conscientious of the entire Jewish community in Lugansk. They are now much more interested in the development not just of the teen club but of the community as a whole. The significance is massive as the members are coming to plan the programs of the club, the major events, how we celebrate holidays, and the planning of seminars.

We want to note two programs that the teenagers have not just been involved in but have taken the leading roles in since last year called “EcoTorah” and “Active.”

In the project “EcoTorah” participants discover for themselves the world, how they can protect the world, study Jewish texts on this subject, and, of course, volunteer programming. The participants went on three seminars with tents and a four-night camp, in which 60 people from all of Lugansk joined them to learn about Judaism and Ecology.

Our other project “Active” was run by our Madrichim (leaders) and motivated members in the community. The result was a lot of strong volunteer based programs. At the end of the project our volunteer leaders ran a seminar for teenagers from Lugansk in a nearby town. At the seminar of 50 people, they shared their experiences and exchanged ideas for future development. The seminar was full of leadership based activities and programs on Jewish culture and traditions.

Check out our video slideshow from EcoTorah at this link http://vimeo.com/59568011


This year, we are trying to connect Jewish teen clubs throughout Ukraine to each other through seminars and retreats and to BBYO international. Every week, I will be showcasing a different community and their teen club. Help us strengthen the Jewish world by connecting Jewish teens to one another. Learn more by clicking on the following link.



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