the first time ever, Russian Jewish Division (RJD) organized a family retreat
for Russian speaking young Jewish families in Chicago. The retreat took place
on the weekend of June 28-30 at the JCC Perlstein Resort in Wisconsin.
young families gathered to enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings and connect
with their heritage. Participants shared in the celebration of Shabbat in a
very relaxing environment. Throughout the weekend, children were engaged in
various activities such as arts and crafts, Russian Reading Corner, Maccabiada,
sing along and others while their parents enjoyed educational sessions and
discussions led by Russian-speaking cantor Vicky Glikin of Congregation Solel
of Highland Park.
makes a Russian-speaking Jewish family in Chicago unique from any other young
Jewish family? Although a desire to preserve Russian culture and raise their
children with a Jewish identity is something that unites these families, the
level of integration into a larger community varies.
of the families that attended the retreat were very new to the organized
community and had an opportunity to learn a great deal about JUF and the
Chicago Jewish community in general. Other families have been involved in the
Jewish community and have been supporters of JUF for many years. We had family
members who work as accountants, consultants, financial advisors, doctors,
executives of large companies and also those who work as Jewish professionals
for Jewish organizations in Chicago.
one of the sessions for parents, Cantor Glikin asked a question about naming
children. Families shared their stories and while the majority of parents
received their Hebrew names later in life, the importance of choosing a
Jewish/Hebrew name for their children was a priority for all.
the opportunity of a perfect location, parents and children explored the
facilities of JCC Camp Chi and even got to meet camp counselors with a Russian
background. These future Jewish campers loved what they saw and can’t wait
until they are ready to attend. Roasting marshmallows at the bonfire on
Saturday night was another great time to bond and get to know each other
is something that makes our community unique, something that makes us feel
connected from the start. We share our immigration story and we share a hope
for a Jewish future for our children. As many more Russian-speaking Jewish
families in the Chicago area get involved with the RJD, we plan to make our family
retreat an annual event in the summer.
The Russian Jewish
Division of the JUF serves Russian-speaking Jewish young adults between the
ages of 18 and 40. RJD’s mission is to maintain and increase the outreach to
the Russian-speaking Jewish Community in the Chicago-land area while
reinforcing Jewish pluralism through the open-minded outlooks of the Jewish
spectrum. While continuing to tailor to the specific needs of the
Russian-speaking Jewish young adult community, Russian Jewish Division utilizes
various available resources and serves as a resource and ‘connection’ to JUF
and the Jewish community at large.
more information about JUF’s Russian Jewish Division, contact RJD@juf.org