During the seven decades of the Soviet regime, the Jewish community of the former Soviet Union (FSU) experienced severe identity loss. Twenty years after the regime’s collapse, only an estimated 20 percent of the 800,000 Jews across the broad expanse of what is now the FSU are meaningfully engaged in Jewish life. Around the world, Russian-speaking Jews are estimated to comprise over 3 million people – but their participation in local “mainstream” Jewish communities is exceedingly low.
Russian-speaking Jews, therefore, have unique Jewish educational needs, both in the FSU and in other regions. To help them feel close to their global Jewish family and to connect them to Israel, The Jewish Agency for Israel runs programs for all age groups in the FSU, North America, Germany, Australia, and Israel—programs that promote Jewish culture and unity through a continuum of immersive Jewish experiences.
Our strategic efforts fall into four broad categories:
1. Camping, educational youth programs, and counselor training
2. Leadership development and grassroots support
3. Israel Experiences
4. Facilitation of Aliyah from the FSU and Germany