Largest Russian Jewish Educational Center for Children Opens in Tomsk

A new Children’s Сultural and Educational Center under initiative of the Jewish community opened in Tomsk on September 12. The ceremony was timed to coincide with the 120th anniversary of the city’s Choral Synagogue. About 100 people attended the opening, including Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar, leaders of FJC and city officials.

 At the event, Rabbi Berel Lazar recited a prayer and affixed a mezuzah on the building’s doorway. Addressing those present, he mentioned what a pleasant surprise it was to see so many young people there: “We understand that this is a difficult time. People think twice before going anywhere, they are afraid. But the fact that so many people came today is a sign that this center is really not only needed, but has been long awaited.”

The construction of the center began in November 2017 and was funded entirely by donations.

The new Children’s Center is located next to the Choral Synagogue. The construction was carried out with donations and took three years. The complex can simultaneously host 50 children in preschool groups and 200 children in additional education groups. Extended day lessons are planned for students from other municipal schools.

Besides the day-care groups for children, the new center will offer language courses (Russian, English and Hebrew), natural sciences and social studies classes, IT, robotics, chess, drama and music courses, as well as a playroom for younger children and informal educational clubs for teenagers. 

Mikhail Ratner, Acting Mayor of Tomsk: 

“The center’s capacity is very large. 50 children will be able to engage in preschool education, 200 children in additional education. The center will employ 20 specialists. All conditions have been created to ensure that the upbringing and education of the children is at the proper level.”

“The opening of children’s educational centers is always a very important event. When a high-quality platform is created for affordable traditional education, where morality and ethics are the first priority, it can be considered the best investment in our common future,” said the President of the FJC Russia Rabbi Alexander Boroda about the new center.

The new center is located next to Tomsk Choral Synagogue, which was opened in 1902 and returned to the community in 1999.

During the ceremony, the Deputy Governor for Domestic Policy Sergey Ilinykh expressed gratitude to the Chairman of the Tomsk Jewish community Yuri Zelvensky and to the Chief Rabbi of Tomsk region Levi Kaminetsky. 

The new center will be open for all city residents.

Photos provided by Chief Rabbi of Tomsk Levi Kaminetsky.

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