In a territory where assimilation rate reaches 90%, engaging young adults in their Jewish Heritage is especially important, essential for Jewish survival.
FJC’s EuroStars young adults program is the most successful and rapidly growing Jewish initiative for young people in the FSU. EuroStars developed on the basis of the International Stars program, but was fit specifically for the phenomena of Russia and the CIS, where the post-Soviet generations of Jewish youth were extremely disengaged from their roots and had no common social bond.
The program provides a basis for social contact between young people aged 18 to 28 and ignites their shared ‘Jewish spark,’ providing for the future of Russian Jewish life. Launched in 2012 with only 90 participants in four cities, in 2015 the program reached 1000 young people in 32 cities throughout Russia.
EuroStars consists of weekly classes with Jewish learning curriculum, complimented by diverse and engaging social content. The program culminates in the end-of-the-year trip to Europe and a concluding seminar in Poland. Chosen European destinations include France, Spain, Germany, and in every country the EuroStars group visits Jewish communities to see modern Jewish life in action.
The invigorating learning program is tailor-made for EuroStars by the Rohr Jewish Learning institute (JLI,) a renowned provider of Jewish learning courses. The most amazing part is that young people continue coming to learn even after they’ve completed three years in the program and are no longer eligible for the European trip. They make life-long friends, and, not uncommonly, find their soul mates.
The surrounding community activities have also seen tremendous growth in attendance thanks to the growing EuroStars participation.
There is huge potential for fostering a Jewish future for youth in Russia and the CIS, where EuroStars is just getting started. In the following years the program will expand even further, with five Ukrainian cities joining in 2016.