The Jewish community of Veliky Novgorod, Russia, welcomed a new children’s center earlier this month, which became home to the city’s first Jewish kindergarten. The center, called “Aleph”, will also provide a spacious, clean and secure environment for other youth activities and become, what the organizers hope, a “second home” for the city’s youngsters.
The opening of its first full-day Jewish kindergarten is a big step for the community of Veliky Novgorod, in Russia’s North-West. “The basis of any community is its educational framework. The opening of a kindergarten gave us a big push in this direction – it’s the basis of Jewish education and also a place that will draw in parents as well as children,” said Rabbi Yakov Sominsky, the chief rabbi of the city.
Besides the kindergarten, the community plans to open after-school Jewish heritage lessons for school children from 1st to 3rd grades at the center. The community’s Sunday school will also move to the new center after finishing works of the playground area are complete.
The center will also provide the community with its first-ever kosher kitchen, where meals for larger events can be prepared. Prior to that, all kosher food had to be cooked at home, Rabbi Sominsky said. The center’s opening was made possible by FJC’s Or Avner fund, the Shmini fund and local sponsors.