Investing in Jewish Continuity in Far East Russia

Building Community Through a Youth Movement: The Active Jewish Teens Network

Your Annual Campaign gift is making a difference all across the world. As the closest Federation to Jewish communities living in Siberia, we take our responsibility to support Jews living there seriously. Through our partnership with the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) we fund programming such as the Active Jewish Teens Network, supporting the development of young Jewish leaders in the region.

Engagement in the Jewish community is essential to make communal responsibility an inseparable part of one's Jewish identity. Youth aged 13 to 17 in the FSU have amazing potential to engage in and give back to local Jewish communities. Yet until recently, these teens lacked their own space to become empowered and act upon this potential.

Despite being Jewishly involved as children, a void of age-appropriate community activities for youth between childrens programming and young leadership programs left most teens unaffiliated, and with no connections to Jewish life.

Our partner, the JDC launched the Active Jewish Teens (AJT) youth program in partnership with BBYO and Genesis Philanthropy Group. The effort was guided by the understanding that teens are the building blocks of the next generation of Jewish leadership and that teen years are formative for young Jews looking to embrace Jewish life.

AJT offers a meaningful and inspiring connection to Jewish life in parts of the world where it lay dormant for over half a century. Through a broad range of social, cultural, and leadership-building activities, together with Shabbat and holiday celebrations, AJT connects teens to their Jewish identity. It also connects them to their peers around the FSU and beyond through conferences and active online platforms. Participants bring their excitement home with them to their families, inspiring their parents and siblings to increase their connection to Jewish life.

Fourteen AJT chapters are currently operating in the Urals, Volga, Siberia and Far East regions, with an active membership of around 220 teenagers.

Ensuring that young people have the support they need to become the next generation of community leaders is just as important locally as it is around the world. We are proud to support programs that give young people the best possible opportunities to do this, whether it is in the Lower Mainland, the Upper Galilee, or Far East Russia. Our ability to do that is thanks in large part to your generosity. If you haven’t yet made your Annual Campaign gift, please click here and give today.