Twenty-five promising Jewish young leaders from across Russia and the FSU recently participated in a special 4-day seminar in Moscow aimed at enhancing the future generation of Jewish leaders across the former Soviet Union. The YAHAD Leadership School granted the youngsters an opportunity to acquire a wealth of knowledge in various fields and to empower their work with youth in the Jewish communities back home.
The leadership seminar, which took place at the Moscow Marriott Imperial Plaza, was led by a professional team of mentors and rabbis under the guidance of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Wilansky, Director of FJC’s YAHAD youth organization.
Rabbi Shneur Kosenko, alongside key presenters Yael Kholenok, Nesia, and Menahem Bushan, provided the future leaders with a comprehensive program. This included instructional blocks and training sessions covering informal education, Judaism in the context of leadership development, group dynamics, pedagogical situations, and faith in times of crisis. Lecturers Esther Shustin and Ilana Stavropolskaya delivered special classes on prayer, addressing its rules, significance, and importance in human life.
The seminar was graced by the presence of Russia’s Chief Rabbi, Berel Lazar, who was so impressed by his initial visit that he decided to visit twice. During his lecture, Rabbi Lazar concentrated on contemporary events such as the situation in Israel and the global fight against antisemitism. He encouraged the participants to take personal responsibility to act and adopt positive resolutions. Furthermore, Rabbi Lazar conducted Q&A sessions with the participants and generously gifted them books to assist in their personal development and along their Jewish path.
As part of the seminar’s cultural component, participants visited the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in the center of Moscow, delving into Jewish history. They also enjoyed a tram tour of Moscow.
Upon the seminar’s conclusion, each participant left with newfound knowledge and a significant motivational boost for their youth work in their respective cities, strengthening the commitment among the emerging leaders from the FSU’s Jewish youth.