Over 70 young people from Russia and the CIS participated last week in a leadership training seminar in Moscow, part of of the School of Leadership program run by Yahad, FJC’s programs platform. The leadership program consists of four week-long seminars dispersed over two years and prepares graduates to successfully lead and nurture their Jewish communities upon completion.
“The participants are young Jewish people from 18 to 30 who want to make a difference in their communities and take responsibility for the administrative, educational and outreach tasks,” said Miriam Mayorova, the program’s coordinator.
The participants came from 45 cities in Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia and Estonia. Most cities have one young leader participating in the program, while some have two according to the community’s size and activity, Mayorova said.
Moscow’s seminar was the third since the start of the program, and the next one, set to take place in February will present the program’s first graduates. The program was developed by leading Jewish education professionals and focuses on five goals: informal education, Jewish content, public relations, management skills and personal growth.
The knowledge the participants gain over the seminars they apply in practice in their communities as the rabbi’s ‘helpers’ and youth program leaders. The Leadership school coordinators are in close contact with local rabbis to make sure the training answers a community’s real needs, Mayorova added.
“Over the program’s two years our students complete a lot of ‘field work’ and volunteering, and once they graduate they can either continue helping in the community in parallel to their careers or choose to concentrate on community work professionally,” she said.
During the seminar in Moscow the enthusiasm of leaders-in-training was contagious and one could see the real joy emanating from their activities, workshops and discussions.
“Local leaders are the essential part of any community’s healthy growth, as they help it develop from within,” said Rabbi Mendy Willansky, Yahad’s director. “So we are very happy to see these young people who approach the task with such vigor and energy, assuring us of a prominent future for the region’s Jewish communities.”