A group of 500 Russian EuroStars university students recently returned from a unique six day trip to Poland, France, and Germany. This educational tour was the culmination of a eight month Jewish learning program in 24 locations throughout Russia which delved into Jewish thought, heritage, law and tradition; much focus was given to Jewish holidays, and weekly Torah portions.
‘EuroStars’ mission is to, not only teach the importance of Jewish identity but, add an extra layer of depth to it by bringing complicated Jewish law and thought down to a most basic and applicable level which affect daily life making it real and current.
“If just one class helps a student to feel more confident in his Jewish identity; to embrace his past and make positive decisions about his future then our goal has been met,” said Rabbi Mendy Wilansky, the FJC’s Youth Programs Director.
The European tour was the culmination of months of learning with 500 of the 700 students achieving eligibility. Each stop along the way, the students focused on Jewish life in that region – both past and present. In France, they visited Hyper Cacher – the site of this year’s terror attack against French Jews as well as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. In Poland and Germany, they paid homage at the sites of Holocaust atrocities discussing its effects on Jewish life and revival
“The trip helped me to finalize the thoughts I have been having over the past few months, on my own future as a Jew, what I want from my people and my past,” said Alexander P., of his experience on the trip.