A 5-day seminar for activists of the EnerJew youth movement opened in Jerusalem early this week. About 200 youngsters from 20 cities across the former Soviet Union have gathered in the capital of Israel to experience the country, learn, connect to peers and further discover their shared Jewish heritage.
What they learn here, the participants will also bring back to their hometowns in order to jump into the upcoming year of EnerJew activities with renewed drive, enthusiasm and motivation. About 1000 teenagers in the age from 13 to 18 take part in the movement in the FSU, with many more in potential.
For many of the seminar participants the time in Jerusalem is their first visit to Israel and an eye-opening experience. “This is my first trip to my homeland,” says one young girl from Samara, Russia. “I am beyond excited.” The seminar opened with a series of workshops about personal Jewish history and then a tour to the Old City of Jerusalem and the Western Wall.
In the coming days the group will travel to Kfar Chabad and Tel Aviv, climb Masada at sunrise and sleep in beduin tents. However, the goal is far from just sight-seeing. Intense and stimulating discussions and workshops dissecting the various aspects of the modern meaning of being Jewish await the participants.
“This seminar is both a reward and a challenge to grow and develop for the year to come,” said one of the movement’s Young Rabbi leaders.
Initiated by the FJC, the EnerJew project launched in 2013 with 5 cities, and the same number joined every half a year, taking it up to 20 by now and making EnerJew the largest single Jewish youth movement across the FSU.