Seminar in the Former Soviet Union

Slideshow of Hornstein visit to Moldova and Ukraine February 2014
Slideshow of the 2014 Moldova/Ukraine Trip

The Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program recognizes the increasingly important role that Jews of Russian-speaking heritage play in the world-wide Jewish community. To expose students to the rich history and vital perspective of Russian-speakers, Hornstein second-year students have the option of participating in a week-long journey to Jewish communities in the former Soviet Union. While there, students interact with Jewish counterparts, attend talks by experts in the field, and participate in educational and historical tours.

Destinations have included Moscow, Russia; Kiev, Dnepropetrovsk, Uman, Belaya Tzerkov, and Odessa, Ukraine; and Kishinev, Moldova.

The goals of the FSU seminar are to:

  • Achieve a better understanding of the contemporary Jewish communities in the Former Soviet Union (FSU)—their current status, condition, and challenges.
  • Deepen understanding of FSU Jewish history, including within the contexts of the region's general history and global Jewish history.
  • Acquire networks, insights, and examples of practice that can inform and impact students' future professional careers.

The Hornstein seminars in the FSU have been made possible with generous support from the Brandeis Genesis Institute for Russian Jewry and the Genesis Philanthropy Group.

Moldova - Ukraine Seminar 2014

From February 16-23, 2014, six second-year Hornstein students were joined by Hornstein professor, Mark Rosen, and staff member, Rise Singer, for an intensive study tour of contemporary Jewish life and history in Chishinau, Moldova and Odessa, Ukraine.

The group met with organizational and thought leaders, Jewish peer groups, and visited historical sites in Chishinau and Odessa. In the students' daily blog, participant, Noah Zaves '14, describes one afternoon in Odessa:

After an extensive tour of the city (I even saw the Black Sea for the first time!), we met with local young adult leaders at Odessa’s JCC Beit Grand. They work with youth and young adult engagement, so we split up into “interest groups” to discuss camping, grassroots organizing, youth outreach, and Aliyah. I was fascinated to discover that we all experience similar challenges, despite our continental differences, but I also learned a lot from hearing about their programs, and they from mine. It was an incredibly practical and useful session, and we’re looking forward to seeing them again at Shabbat dinner. Today was a day for stretching boundaries, both mental and physical, and I’m excited for our remaining three days here in Odessa!

Read also Ukrainian Hornstein student Yuliya Serebryana's personal perspective on the trip in BrandeisNow.