A new college Jewish club opened at Moscow’s prestigious School of Economics university last week. Over 250 students registered for the club that will host cultural and social events, organize lectures and classes.
The newly opened Jewish club joined the family of other ethnic organizations at the university that include clubs for students of various Caucasus region origins and will partner up with another Jewish student club recently opened at another Moscow university, the International Relations institute.
“The future of the Russian Jewish community depends on you, you define what it will look like tomorrow,” said chief rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar, who was the guest of honor at the opening. Rabbi Lazar wished the students the best of luck in their studies and on their journey of discovering Jewish identity and heritage, stressing that keeping their values against all odds and obstacles has always been the defining characteristic of the Jewish people.
Club organizers hope that soon there will be a whole network of college Jewish clubs throughout the country. “We have common goals and interests: to familiarize our students with Jewish culture and traditions, celebrate holidays, organize trips,” said the head of the new club, Yana Naftaliyeva.
“Our immediate plans for the club include opening of Hebrew courses. Also the students are planning to organize lectures on Israel’s culture and history, and create round-table discussions with the participation of prominent political and cultural figures.”
Jewish college clubs play an important role in helping young Jewish adults define and keep their identity, research says. They are common on campuses in the United States, but in Russia and the FSU region the process is only beginning, aided by the efforts of FJC communities and organizations.