From Bobruisk in Belarus to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan and everywhere in-between in the FSU, the new 2017 EuroStars season officially opened last week. Over 1,800 applicants signed up for the program ahead of the new year, with clubs opening in 44 cities and 9 FSU countries.
Over its 4 years of activity, EuroStars has become the buzzword among Jewish students on university campuses. The exciting learning program targets young Jewish adults aged 18 to 26, and this year, due to its immense popularity, the program will run in 7 more countries besides the already operational Russia and Ukraine.
EuroStars is expanding to Georgia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus and two Baltic states – Estonia and Latvia. “EuroStars emerged four years ago with only four cities and about 90 participants. Cities, where we thought we’d never get a following, such as Sochi, Tumen, Khabarovsk, Birobidjan – now all have strong and active EuroStars clubs, and that is just amazing,” said rabbi Mendy Wilansky, the director of EuroStars. The enthusiastic peer reviews and the very real excitement felt by everyone involved helped propel the program to a new level and increase the numbers exponentially, Wilensky said.
The learning program for EuroStars is a tailor-made Jewish studies curriculum developed by a group of community rabbis together with professionals from the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute. It’s a three-year program that covers history and tradition.
The annual program entails 35 weeks of learning culminating in a week-long trip to Europe. Past trips have covered Poland, Gibraltar, Spain, France and Germany, where the groups explored modern Jewish life and connected to the countries’ Jewish history and heritage. This year the final trip will be a cruise with European destination choices to be announced.