Discovering Roots and History is Fun in Rostov’s Or Avner

FJC’s Or Avner school in Rostov-on-Don, in the south of Russia, together with the city’s Jewish community presented its students with a cool research project recently, asking them to take a close look at the Jewish history and culture of the region, which counts as one of most influential centers of Jewish life in Russia throughout centuries.

The students are given freedom to apply their own creative ideas – be it photography, interviews, presentations, even excursion routes – to report on one of the five project topics. The topics are: “My Family”, discovering family roots and history, “Synagogues & centers ”, researching the history of community life in the city; “Periods of struggle”, analyzing different anti-semitic time periods in the region, including pogroms, the infamous doctors’ case and the Holocaust. The other two topics are centered on the present – “Reviving Rostov’s community” and of course, the popular “Famous Jews of Rostov”.

“This initiative is very important first of all for the students themselves – the enthusiasm and curiosity that accompany research will help them discover new horizons in studying the history of Jewish people. They will meet new people and take an active part in developing the Rostov Synagogue’s Jewish museum,” said rabbi Shmuel Stolin, the project’s coordinator.

In order to help students make the best of their projects, Rostov’s Jewish community gave them assess to all documents, photographs and films in its archives. At the end of the year the students will present the first completed projects, and the authors of the most interesting and thorough works will be awarded a trip to Moscow’s Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center.


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