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Returning to Russian Family Retreat, 33 years later…

"I want our child to understand the uniqueness of our heritage.” 

Russian Reunion image
On the left: Eydelman and his mom, Rhada, 1982. On the right: Eydelman and his wife, Inessa, and daughter, Milana, 2015

In June, 22 Russian-speaking Jewish families with children gathered at the JCC Perlstein Resort in Wisconsin for the third annual JUF Russian Jewish Division's (RJD) Russian Family Retreat. 

Led by Vicky Glikin, the Russian-speaking cantor of Congregation Solel of Highland Park, and Anna Gorbikoff, a Jewish educator and RJD board member, the retreat was a way for these families to get away from the daily hustle, relax, and connect with other families with a similar heritage and shared immigrant background and experiences. The families enjoyed collectively celebrating Shabbat, learning blessings and songs, a bonfire with s'mores, guitar, and Russian songs, Maccabia mini-games led by Camp Chi counselors, boat rides, and many
more activities.

For Gene Eydelman, a young father, it wasn't the first time at Perlstein. Eydelman and his family participated at the first Russian Family Weekend in 1982, when Eydelman was just two years old. Organized by JCC and supported by JUF, the retreat in 1982 brought 108 new immigrants-Jewish men, women and children-to explore American Jewish culture. And now, 33 years later, Eydelman and his wife, Inessa, are bringing their 3-month old daughter to her first Russian Family Retreat to continue the tradition and celebrate Jewish life.

"It was a wonderful experience to be able to spend a beautiful weekend at the Perlstein resort this June," Eydelman shared. "Although my daughter is only 3 months old, it is very important for Inessa and I to connect with other young Russian Jewish families. I want our child to understand the uniqueness of our heritage."   .

JUF's Russian Jewish Division (RJD) is a community of young professionals and young families from the Former Soviet Union background. RJD's main mission is to integrate Russian-speaking Jewish population into the greater Chicago Jewish community. RJD serves as a resource for this population and engages the community by providing tailored programs and events.  

Russian Jewish Division is sponsored by the Genesis Philanthropy Group.

For more information visit .

Genia Kovelman is the Director of Russian Jewish Division at the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago.


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