Inside Jewish Georgia & Azerbaijan 2018: HUC-JIR

June 3, 2018 - June 11, 2018

Applications for this trip are now closed. 
Inside Jewish Georgia & Azerbaijan is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for HUC students to learn about JDC's vital work with Jewish populations in this unique pocket of the Former Soviet Union. This experience allows HUC students the opportunity to experience, learn, and contribute to the building of Jewish life and welfare needs in post-Communist communities. It also provides an important leadership opportunity for students to take their HUC learning to an abroad community and to bring their trip experience back to HUC.
This trip is open to all current HUC students, including those graduating in Spring 2018. 
Itinerary Highlights:
  • Explore and tour the Jewish communities of Tbilisi & Gori, Georgia and Baku & Quba, Azerbaijan.
  • Meet the unique community of Mountain Jews – the world's only all-Jewish town outside of Israel.
  • Visit an Azari Bazar to see local artisans in their traditional work.
  • Participate in home visits with elderly community members to learn about JDC's Hesed welfare model.
  • Learn about the history of Communism in the region with a visit to the Stalin Museum.
  • Lead activities for at-risk children, teens, and parents served the Jewish Family Service.
  • Experience the region’s unique culture and cuisine through dance and architecture.
  • Travel the countryside, participate in wine tastings, and visit medieval castles and monasteries.
Trip Dates: June 3-11, 2018
Participation Fee: Students accepted for this program will receive full subsidies for participation.
*The trip is generously supported by Jewish philanthropist Jane Weitzman as a part of a JDC and HUC-JIR partnership which provides the HUC-JIR student body with increased opportunities to engage in international Jewish issues. Learn more about the JDC and HUC-JIR partnership here.
The trip includes:
  • Roundtrip International Airfare to Georgia and Azerbaijan
  • Local transportation within Georgia and Azerbaijan
  • Meals
  • Hotel Accommodations (note: the participation fee covers accommodations in double rooms; participants may elect to stay in a single room for an additional fee)
  • Site visits, briefings, tours, etc.
  • Medical and emergency evacuation insurance
Flight Details: Group flights will depart the US-based campuses on Sunday, June 3 and will return on Monday, June 11. Arrangements will also be made for participants traveling from the Israel. All participants are expected to travel on the group flight. A detailed flight itinerary will be shared upon notification of acceptance.
About JDC in Georgia: More than two decades after the fall of Communism, JDC is working with Georgia's local Jewish communities to create opportunities for Jews to reconnect to their tradition. After Georgia obtained independence in 1991, JDC stepped in to help the community build a strong Jewish infrastructure and care for its needy and elderly. More recently, events have also required JDC's intervention; in 2002, a severe earthquake struck Georgia and political instability and tensions with Russia cultivated in the Russian-Georgian war of 2008. JDC played a central role in helping the Tbilisi Jewish community and surrounding communities caught in the midst of the fighting. Today, JDC provides lifesaving humanitarian interventions, and is revitalizing Jewish life through its work with Jews of all ages from nursery school programs to young adult engagement initiatives.
About JDC in Azerbaijan: Jewish life in Azerbaijan, which has historically been centered in Baku, dates back hundreds of years. The Jewish community of Baku, and the smaller community in the city of Kuba, flourished well into the 20th century, until the rise of Communism ruled out Jewish expression. The collapse of the Soviet Union brought the opportunity for revival of Jewish life, but also left the country in economic ruin. With JDC's help, the Jews of Azerbaijan are working to further the welfare of the neediest and to preserve the community's Jewish heritage.


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