"Doroga", an experimental, interactive play that explores Russian-Jewish immigrant experience through a series snapshots and a dialogue between the past and the present, is on stage at the Brandeis University.
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Undergraduate Fellowship strives to inspire Russian-speaking students from around the world to become effective community leaders fortified by Jewish knowledge, a systematic understanding of Russian Jewry, and a commitment to the future of the Jewish people.
Undergraduate Fellows’ Outreach Projects
Each undergraduate fellow of the BGI undertakes a community service project, either on campus or off campus, which connects them with the Jewish and/or Russian Jewish community. Here are brief descriptions of the undergraduate projects.
2009-2010 Outreach Projects
Diana Aronin '11
Diana volunteered at the Jewish Association on Aging in Pittsburgh, where she established relationships with the elderly Jewish residents. She plans on returning to the JAA and taking on a greater volunteer role there, while strengthening her bonds with the residents and attending to their needs.
Julia Blanter '13
Julia’s outreach project consisted of fundraising for the Russian Jewish Community Foundation of Boston (RJCF) Sderot Fund, an after-school program to assist in the maintenance of a bomb shelter for children in Sderot, Israel. In order to raise funds, she presented a slideshow provided by Ary Rotman, the president of RJCF, on the Brandeis campus. She also held a bake sale and raised $110 for the fund that was matched by her mother's coworkers, generating a total of $700.
Michael Gurevich '13
Mike’s project focused on communication with Russian-Jewish doctors in the Boston area. He also participated in the various medical activities of the Dnepropetrovsk Kehillah project undertaken by the Jewish Community Relations Council. With plans to attend medical school, Mike hopes his project will not only connect him with the Jewish medical community in Boston, but will foster communication among Russian Jews in the United States who are interested in medical studies. His accomplishment for last year was to strengthen the structure and communication, a process he hopes to continue next year.
Eleazar Jacobs '13
Eleazar served as the BGI’s liaison with Combined Jewish Philanthropy’s Young Jewish Leaders Council. He familiarized the fellows with the network of young leaders from existing Jewish young adult organizations in the Greater Boston community, with the goal of strengthening the young adult presence in the Jewish community. He also served as the BGI’s ambassador to Ezra-USA@Boston to facilitate cooperation and partnership with their young adult programs.
Daniel Koch '13
In partnership with BGI Fellow Eugene Goncharov, Daniel is planning a photography exhibit of Russian Jewry in America. By visiting Brookline, Providence, Brooklyn, and his hometown of Fair Lawn, New Jersey, Daniel gathered enough materials to present a meaningful collection of photos. His presentation will be in the forms of both a slideshow on the BGI website and a book. So far he has generated 20 high-quality photos.
Nera Lerner '12
Nera worked on creating a Jewish-Russian art exhibit. Its theme is “Woman as Muse,” a retrospective of work by artists such as Marc Chagall and Max Weber. The talks regarding the exhibit are ongoing.
Vlad Lukashevsky '11
As an extension of his work from fall 2008, Vlad returned to the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center (HRC) in Roslindale, Massachusetts. His regular volunteer work at HRC has helped forge personal relationships with the residents. To Vlad, each resident has an individual story. Though he did not focus as much on creating biographies, he made monthly visits to HRC to continue building meaningful relationships with the residents.
Julian Olidort '11
Julian’s community outreach program centers around his grandfather, the Russian Jewish artist Marc Klionsky. In a public event on the Brandeis campus in April, Julian presented his grandfather’s artwork and invite scholarly guests to speak to promote discussion of the artist’s role within the context of Russian-Jewish cultural identity.
Julia Rabkin '11
Julia hosted a benefit to raise funds for and awareness of the Adamov Foundation in the global Russian-Jewish community. This benefit was organized and held on March 10, 2010. Her means of fundraising included an performances by members of the Russian Club and consisted of an opening buffet dinner, a themed Russian folks dance, poetry reading, and musical recitals.
Frederick Rozenshteyn '13
As a pre-med student, Freddy decided to explore Russian Jewry in the medical field. He began by meeting local medical professionals at BGI lectures and seminars. With the assistance of Noga Nevel of the Jewish Community Relations Council, Freddy has contacted a committee of doctors in the Boston area. In this way, Freddy hopes to initiate a number of projects while providing opportunities for other BGI fellows who wish to contribute their knowledge and expertise in service to the Jewish community. Freddy hopes to continue in this project and to have meetings with Ms. Nevel this fall.
Helen Shapiro '11
Helen explored Jewish Family & Children’s Services and Jewish Vocational Services in order to familiarize herself with their efforts on behalf of both Jewish and non-Jewish refugees in Boston. As a pre-law student focusing on immigration law and non-profit work in public health, Helen’s research project encompassed refugees’ health issues, cultural and economic adjustment, and integration into the Jewish community.
Esther Tandetnik '13
Esther began her spring project by working with Judy Wolf of the Jewish Community Relations Council. Esther focused on the Special Needs Initiative in the Jewish community of Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine by assisting with donations and translating and proof-reading health information sheets for the Beit-Hanah resource center. She plans to continue her work and further her understanding of the ways in which the Boston Jewish community assists children with disabilities in Dnepropetrovsk.
Avraham Eli Tukachinsky '11
Eli is currently writing, translating, and illustrating a Passover book for young Russian-speaking Jews. This book, in Eli’s words, “will fulfill my parents’ prophecy that I would pass religious education on to youth in a fun, original way.” The book’s accessibility to young children will be Eli’s active acknowledgement of his family’s participation in holiday celebrations in protest of refusenik-era government policy in Russia. Eli continues his work on the Passover Book.
Lena Vaynberg '13
Lena, in conjunction with BGI Fellow Freddy Rozenshteyn, has been learning about the Russian-Jewish medical community in the Boston area. Building on their aspirations to become physicians, Lena and Freddy undertook a project that involves interviewing, shadowing, and interning with Russian-Jewish doctors in Boston in order to gain a richer and deeper understanding of how the medical field operates, particularly among Russian Jewry in America. They established a connection with several different Russian Jewish doctors practicing in the Boston area.
Victor Zhivich '13
Victor has finished his oral history project that focuses on his family roots and background in the Former Soviet Union. Victor interviewed his grandfather and his grandfather’s brother-in-law on their experiences growing up Jewish and their struggles in Soviet society. The result of his project is an insightful hour-long film that allowed Victor to learn about his heritage and family history as well as to gain an understanding of his own Russian-Jewish identity. Victor also took charge of all technical aspects associated with the project.