Jewish Life in St. Petersburg: A New Story
The JDC writes about the bubbling activity taking place at Yesod Jewish Community Center, the first-rate, central hub of Jewish life in the cosmopolitan city of St. Petersburg, Russia. Masha Aryeva, 39, the director of Yesod JCC for the last two years, tells about the inclusive atmosphere at Yesod where anyone of any age, background, or socioeconomic level is completely welcome—and that there is always something for everyone going on.
"We want Yesod to be the family’s “third place” (besides home and work) where they spend a significant portion of their time. Many of our programs engage the family as a whole so they can have a variety of ways to spend time together, such as summer camps, Jewish holiday events, and Shabbatons. Others allow every member of the family to delve into their own interests: Mom can go to hear Klezmer music, while dad goes to a lecture on Jewish education, as the older kid makes his way to youth group and the younger child enjoys a studio art class. The idea is that when the family walks in there is something for each of them going on simultaneously, which is different from any other organization where people are segmented by ages, income levels, etc.
The Yesod campus is very large, home to the five largest Jewish organizations in St. Petersburg. It includes facilities such as a multi-faceted atrium and concert hall, a library (which facilitates the Open Jewish Educational Center EITAN), a kindergarten and day care center, and a gym, to name just a few features.
In this one place people can get help, an education, find entertainment, and learn Hebrew and just about any kind of Jewish content they’d be interested in."
Read the entire story at the JDC website.