Programm Report of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress Office in Kiev – 2015
of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress Office in Kiev – 2015
1. EAJC GENERAL COUNCIL CHAIRMAN AND PROGRAM DIRECTORATE OFFICE
Most of EAJC programs are implemented by the EAJC Directorate (Kiev, Director – EAJC General Council Chairman, Chairman of the Vaad of Ukraine Josef Zissels, Program Director – Mila Braginskaya).
2. RESOURCE PROGRAMS SUPPORTING EAJC ACTIVITIES
2.1. EAJC Website. Chief Editor - Vyacheslav Likhachev
The EAJC website (www.eajc.org) is a daily updated dynamic bilingual informational and analytical web portal in English and Russian. The site sends out daily electronic updates in these two languages.
The site gets updated six days a week. Accounts and accompanying thematic communities are supported in social networks and in blogs. News and analytical materials often get copied from the eajc.org to other websites and become a source of information for the leading news portals. In 2015, EAJC secretary general started his own weekly editorials. Exclusive analytical materials, in particular, on xenophobia and anti-Semitism are of special popularity on the website.
From January 1 through December 31, 2015, a total of 154,432 unique visitors were registered on eajc.org. The website had an average count of 500-1000 visits, sometimes reaching 2-3 thousand. Most visitors were (from larger to smaller numbers) from Ukraine, Israel, USA, Germany, and Russia. About 25% of visitors turned to the English version of the website.
2.2. Analytical Activities. Program Director – Vyacheslav Likhachev
In spring 2014, a special ad hoc team was set up to monitor ethnic minorities’ rights in Ukraine. Head of the National Minority Rights Monitoring Group is EAJC's expert Vyacheslav Likhachev. EAJC experts are constantly monitoring manifestations of anti-Semitism and xenophobia in EAJC’s countries. The head of the program for monitoring and analysis of manifestations of anti-Semitism and xenophobia is Vyacheslav Likhachev. This monitoring includes the gathering and analysis of information and publication of regular reports on anti-Semitism and xenophobia. EAJC publishes monthly electronic reports on the results of the anti-Semitism and xenophobia monitoring in Russia and in Ukraine, and an annual report on anti-Semitism in the countries of the EAJC region. A report on anti-Semitic manifestations in the countries of this region was published in May 2015 for the Global Forum for Combatting Antisemitism (compiled by Vyacheslav Likhachev).
Analytical materials prepared by Vaad experts within the framework of the program for monitoring antisemitism have the highest authority rating among sources of information on this problem for all the persons and organizations concerned both in Ukraine and worldwide. Monitoring materials are distributed monthly via e-mail. During the last quarter of 2015, the final analytical report was prepared. It was published in January 2016. Its presentation drew significant attention of the mass media. In combatting antisemitism Vaad experts are in active cooperation with other non-governmental organizations concerned, as well as Jewish community structures and human rights groups. In the last months of 2015, permanent working contact with the law-enforcement bodies was set up. EAJC experts take part in international events combatting antisemitism, in particular, the events that took place in 2015 in Warsaw, Vienna, Strasburg, Berlin, Jerusalem, and Tel-Aviv.
EAJC published a calendar for the 5776 Jewish year (from September 2015 through September 2016); calendar artist - Pavel (Pinchas) Fishel.
2.4. PR and GR (contacts with governments and media)
The Euro-Asian Jewish Congress is the main international sociopolitical structure to represent the interests of the Jewish communities of Eurasia in the countries of this region and worldwide. EAJC leadership, members of its General Council and community leaders of various EAJC countries and international organizations, as well as Congress experts and specialists interacting with EAJC are standing participants in all important international and national events pertaining to the life of the Jewish community and the lives of ethnic and religious minorities at large, etc.
January 14, EAJC General Council Chairman, co-president of the Vaad of Ukraine, Josef Zissels, met with Ukrainian vice premier for humanitarian policies, Vyacheslav Kyrylenko. They discussed a number of issues involved in cooperation of a civil society and the state in ethnic relations, fostering of tolerance and other questions of mutual interest. February 3, a large delegation of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) led by its executive director David Harris came on a two-day visit to Ukraine. The EAJC Kiev office prepared the visit and all of its official meetings. On the first day of the visit, the AJC delegation met with Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine Eliav Belotserkovsky, Foreign Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Klymkin, and a group of young Jewish leaders.
February 4, the delegation met with US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, German Ambassador to Ukraine Dr. Christof Weil, Speaker of the Ukrainian parliament Volodymyr Groisman, and Chairman of the Ukrainian Security Service Valentyn Nalyvaichenko.
From February 28 through March 4, EAJC General Council Chairman, co-president of the Vaad of Ukraine, Josef Zissels, visited Canada on the invitation of the UJE Foundation (Ukrainian Jewish Encounter; president – James Temerty).
February 28, Josef Zissels met with the Board of Directors of UJE, Professor Robert Magocsi and Natalia Feduschak. They discussed the draft of a joint program of memorial events of UJE and Vaad of Ukraine in September 2016 (timed to the 75th anniversary of the Babiy Yar tragedy).
March 1, Josef Zissels spoke at the International Festival of Jewish Culture “Ot Azoy!” (“Like This!”) on the topic of post-Soviet Jewry. This was the second festival organized in Toronto by the Russian-speaking “Et Setera” club (led by Victoria Stivelman).
March 13, EAJC General Council Chairman, co-president of the Vaad of Ukraine, Josef Zissels met with vice premier for humanitarian policies Vyacheslav Kyrylenko in Kiev. President of the Jewish Council of Ukraine, Olexander Suslensky, also attended the meeting. The parties discussed a number of questions of mutual interest, in particular, government’s funding of the oldest Jewish newspaper in Ukraine, the “Jewish News”; the assistance to Ukraine from ethnic communities; the initiatives of the Canadian “Ukrainian-Jewish Encounter” fund to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Babiy Yar tragedy in September 2016.
The next day, Josef Zissels met with Foreign Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Klymkin. The parties discussed various issues, in particular, the candidacy for the post of the Ombudsman Combatting Antisemitism and Xenophobia under the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine, as well as the international initiative to set up the “For Democratic Choice” coalition.
May 10, EAJC General Council Chairman, co-president of the Vaad of Ukraine, Josef Zissels, had a working meeting with Director General of the American Joint Distribution Committee for post-Soviet space, Mrs. Michal Frank in Jerusalem. The parties discussed assistance to the Jews of Donbass, Ukraine, and cooperation in some EAJC international programs, in particular, summer camps for children and teenagers in Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, programs to preserve the Jewish cultural heritage, and programs to train teachers of Holocaust lessons in non-Jewish schools. On top of that, the parties discussed the technical side of organizing elections to the 37th Zionist Congress.
May 11, EAJC General Council Chairman, co-president of the Vaad of Ukraine, Josef Zissels, and EAJC Director General Chaim Ben Yakov met with Chairman of the Jewish Sokhnut Agency Nathan Scharansky to discuss cooperation in several areas.
In particular, they discussed assistance to the Jews of Donbass, Ukraine, Sokhnut’s assistance in organizing and funding of EAJC summer camps for children and teenagers this year. May 12, the fifth Global Forum Combatting Antisemitism opened in Jerusalem. Leaders and experts of the Eurasian Jewish Congress attended the Forum, in particular, EAJC Secretary General Mikhail Chlenov, Chairman of the Congress General Council Josef Zissels, and leader of the group for monitoring the rights of ethnic minorities Vyacheslav Likhachev. The Forum opened with the speech of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Minister of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett, German Justice Minister Heiko Maas and others also addressed the Forum.
May 25, EAJC General Council Chairman, co-president of the Vaad of Ukraine, Josef Zissels, met with Chairman of the Council of Churches of Ukraine, Chairman of the Seventh Day Adventists Church in Ukraine, bishop Victor Alekseyenko, in Kiev.
The parties discussed opportunities for the Council of Churches of Ukraine in fostering the system of European values based on the Decalogue (the Ten Commandments).
May 27, EAJC General Council Chairman, co-president of the Vaad of Ukraine, Josef Zissels, addressed the opening of the International round table Memory of the Holocaust: Educational Practices and Ways of Further Development in Modern Ukraine, in Kiev.
EAJC General Council member, Director of the Ukrainian Center for History of the Holocaust, Dr. Anatoly Podolsky, also welcomed the round table.
May 31, EAJC General Council Chairman, co-president of the Vaad of Ukraine, Josef Zissels, spoke at the international round table Dialogue of Human Rights Activists of Russia and Ukraine for the sake of Peace and Human Rights in Kiev.
Josef Zissels delivered a report at the working session on the Most Burning Problems of Ukrainian Society in Human Rights Activists’ Focus.
The round table was organized jointly by the Human Freedoms Center (Kiev, leader – Olexandra Matviychuk) and the Union of Committees in Support of Jews in the former Soviet Union (UCSJ, United States, president – Larry Lerner, director of international bureau – Dr. Leonid Stonov).
June 2, EAJC General Council Chairman, co-president of the Vaad of Ukraine, Josef Zissels, and Director for international affairs of the Union of Committees in Support of Jews in the former Soviet Union (UCSJ), Leonid Stonov, held a joint meeting with US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt in Kiev. Later, they held talks with leaders of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the American Embassy. The meeting focused on potential programs of joint activities in human rights protection and the fostering of tolerance. Josef Zissels also answered a number of questions from Mr. Pyatt concerning the situation in Ukraine from Jewish community’s point of view.
June 5, EAJC General Council Chairman, co-president of the Vaad of Ukraine, Josef Zissels, met with German and Polish Ambassadors to Ukraine, Dr. Christof Weil and Henryk Litwin in Kiev.
Their meetings focused on two subjects: the ambiguous reaction in Ukraine and worldwide to the four de-communization laws recently adopted by Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and signed by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, and the new European Camp project initiated by the Vaad and the Congress of National Communities of Ukraine. The new pilot project is expected to win the support of a number of funds and private sponsors, as well as EAJC.
June 10, EAJC General Council Chairman, co-president of the Vaad of Ukraine, Josef Zissels, met with Director General of the World Jewish Congress, Robert Singer, in New York. The parties discussed the situation in the Eurasian Jewish Congress, problems with East-European communities interested in cooperation with EAJC, and a draft resolution propsed by the Vaad of Ukraine to the World Jewish Congress in support of creation of an international coalition network For Democratic Choice.
June 17, EAJC General Council Chairman, co-president of the Vaad of Ukraine, Josef Zissels, met with the head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, Metropolitan Sviatoslav Shevchuk, in Kiev.
The meeting focused on issues pertaining to the upcoming session of the Council of Churches of Ukraine, where Josef Zissels’ proposed topic of the fostering of European values in the Ukrainian society is going to be discussed.
June 22, EAJC General Council Chairman, co-president of the Vaad of Ukraine, Josef Zissels, addressed the session of the Council of Churches of Ukraine. He suggested that leaders of Ukrainian churches join the voices of other parts of the civil society in creating a program of fostering European values in the Ukrainian society.
As a result, the Council of Churches adopted this draft as the foundation for further development of this subject.
June 24, EAJC General Council Chairman, co-president of the Vaad of Ukraine, Josef Zissels, spoke at the summer school of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv on the topic of Identity and Values: Is Re-Education Possible? Mr. Zissels also answered the questions from the school attendants.
August 27, leaders of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and the Jewish community of Ukraine held talks in Kiev with Prime Minister of Ukraine Arsenyi Yatseniuk, Kiev mayor Vitally Klichko, and representatives of the Ministry of the Interior o fUkraine and the Security Service of Ukraine. The parties discussed the situation of the Jews in Ukraine and international problems. WJC delegation included WJC Director General Robert Singer and WJC vice presidents – co-president of the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities (Vaad) of Ukraine Andriy Adamovsky and co-president of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine Boris Fuksman, as well as EAJC General Council Chairman, co-president of the Vaad of Ukraine, Josef Zissels. The EAJC Kiev office and the Vaad of Ukraine had prepared this visit.
October 1, during his working visit to the USA, EAJC General Council Chairman, co-president of the Vaad of Ukraine, Josef Zissels, spoke at the National Democratic Institute in Washington. Mr. Zissels addressed the 16th round table on the Search for Mature National Statehood of Ukraine: Ukraine and the Issue of Ethnic Minorities. Mr. Zissels delivered a lecture on the subject: Ukraine and Jews under Geopolitical and National Choice.
On the same day, EAJC General Council Chairman Josef Zissels met with President of the World Ukrainian Congress Yevhen Choliy (Canada) and President of the World Congress of Crimean Tatars Refat Chubarov (Ukraine – Crimea) at the American Council for Foreign Politics.
October 5, EAJC General Council Chairman Josef Zissels reported on the situation in the Jewish community of Ukraine to the Makor Jewish Culture Center in Boston, USA.
October 6, Josef Zissels delivered a lecture on the subject of Ukraine and Her Jewish Community during Crisis and War at the Institute of Ukrainian Research of the Harvard University.
October 13, EAJC General Council Chairman, co-president of the Vaad of Ukraine, Josef Zissels, delivered a report on Antisemitism and Xenophobia in Ukraine during Military Conflict and Crisis to the Kiev Dialogues Forum in Kiev. Mr. Zissels presented the outcome of the program for xenophobia studies in Ukraine that the group of monitoring of ethnic minorities’ rights is working on together with EAJC.
November 4, EAJC General Council Chairman, co-president of the Vaad of Ukraine, Josef Zissels, took part in the discussion of the outcome of the Institute of World Politics’ survey on How EU Citizens Perceive Russia-Ukraine Conflict.
October 29 – November 2, a delegation of the National Coalition in Support of Eurasian Jews (NCSEJ) visited Ukraine. NCSEJ is an American Jewish organization of high reputation that operates in post-Soviet space. The EAJC Kiev office had prepared the visit.
During their stay in Ukraine, the American delegation met with Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatseniuk, Speaker of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Volodymyr Groisman, staffers of the Security Service of Ukraine and the Ministry of the Interior, head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine Borys Lozhkin, and a number of Ukrainian mps. Co-President of the Vaad of Ukraine Andriy Adamovsky and Co-President of the Vaad of Ukraine, EAJC General Council Chairman Josef Zissels represented the Jewish community of Ukraine.
December 10, EAJC General Council Chairman, co-president of the Vaad of Ukraine, Josef Zissels, commented on the round table discussion on Public Solidarity to Combat Corruption. The round table was organized for experts and mps by the Patriarchal curia of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church as their first response to Mr. Zissels’ address at the summer session of the Council of Churches of Ukraine.
3. EAJC PRIORITY PROGRAMS
3.1. Religious and Community Programs
3.1.1. Preservation of Cultural Heritage
As part of the program to preserve the cultural heritage, EAJC is working on creating a network of sub-ethnic museums of history and culture of the Jews of various CIS regions (EAJC Museum Project). Project coordinator is Tetiana Savchenko.
188.8.131.52. The Chernovtsy Museum of History and Culture of the Jews of Bukovina
Last year, the museum acquired 30 objects. One of them was purchased for 150 UAH. The rest were given for free by private persons.
Research was carried out mostly within the Wall Murals of Bukovyna Synagogues project (Rothschild Foundation grant). Its purpose was to write historical descriptions for the catalogue and exhibition stands of closed and still functioning synagogues of that region (a total of eight). The museum also continued to study the materials of the State Archive of the Chernovtsky Region on the history and functioning of the local Jewish cemetery, on the history of the Holocaust in the territory of Bukovyna, etc. A total of 100 archive cases of around 1,500 pages were found and processed.
Public relations and popularization of the museum – advertisement and information materials of the museum, educational information on the Jewish history of the city and region, the Jewish cultural and historical heritage of Bukovina were placed in local publications, online publications, and social networks in 2015 in order to develop this work. Educational programs. Last year, the museum paid traditionally great attention to educational events for certain groups of visitors and city residents. In particular, the following events were organized:
February 5 – a seminar for children about the life and works of young Chernovtsy poetess Zelma Meyerbaum-Aizinger.
March 19 and 24 – interactive tours on Jewish traditions for children.
August 28 – a lecture on the history of the Barbus Street (former Synagogue street).
September 27 – lectures on the subject of the Synagogue as Center of Spiritual, Public and Cultural Life of Jewish Community: History of Construction and Operation of Chernovtsy Groiseh Shil Synagogue as part of the city days of European culture, in the Little-Known Monuments of the City section.
Exhibitions, projects, publications and other events:
Last year was filled with events and exhibitions for the museum.
The following events took place in 2015:
- January 23 – February 6 – the Holocaust in Bukovyna exhibition for school students. More than 300 students have visited the exhibition since its opening.
- May 29 – June 15 – a temporary exhibition of ads in the Chernovtsy press of the Austrian period: A Novelty in Princess Elizabeth Square took place as part of the project of the same name sponsored by the Embassy of the Republic of Austria. The exhibition took place at the town hall yard. The museum also prepared and published a special catalogue for this exhibition.
- December 15, 2014 – May 2, 2015 – the museum opened its doors to the Metro Tolerance Club which ran its six programs there.
- July 23 – the museum showed A Shtetl in the Caribbean documentary in the city cinema, telling the life stories of Jewish people who came out of Bukovyna.
- July – August – for the fifth year in a row, the museum joined the German ASF in organizing an international volunteer camp whose participants help clean the Jewish cemetery. Some statistics:
A total of 2,034 people visited the museum in 2015. This includes 67.2% of Ukrainian citizens (1,367 persons) and 32.8% of citizens of other countries (667 persons). The number of visitors grew from 2014. General dynamics of museum attendance over the last five years looks the following:
Museum Attendance in 2010-2015
184.108.40.206. Creation of Memorial Museum Center in Beit-Kadishin Building in Jewish Cemetery in Chernovtsy Project
Coordinator – Nadezhda Ufimtseva
In late 1980 – early 1990s, ideas circulated of restoring the building of the ceremonial hall at the central entrance to the Jewish cemetery in Chernovtsy. In the 1990s, Austrian journalist Helmut Kusdat visited Chernovtsy several times to interview many of its residents, including representatives of the Jewish community. Helmut expressed the idea of the repair and restoration of the ritual hall at the central entrance to the Beit-Kadishin Jewish cemetery during one of his visits. At that time, Josef Zissels suggested that a Memorial Museum Center in honor of the Jews of Bukovyna killed in the Holocaust be placed in the repaired building. Helmut Kusdat published his book An der Zeiten Rander about Chernovtsy and its Jewish people in 2002 but he could not raise any money for the building restoration.
In 2005, Austrian architect Markus Zechner accompanied Helmut Kusdat on one of his visits to the city. He examined the building of Beit-Kadishin and met with city mayor Nikolay Fedorchuk. Honorary consul of Austria Sergey Osachuk also attended the meeting. The parties suggested that a museum of the Jewish cemetery could be hosted in the restored building. That idea however failed to get accomplished due to the lack of funds.
In 2015, the Vaad of Ukraine, in agreement with the Adenauer Foundation (authorized by the German government), started the implementation of the pilot project of restoration of Jewish cemeteries in Ukraine. The German government allocated 1 million euro to these purposes in 2015. This sponsorship helped restore 27 Jewish cemeteries, mostly of small size, in Ukraine and in some other countries of Eastern Europe. In summer 2015, German Ambassador to Ukraine Dr. Christof Weil met with Josef Zissels to declare that the German government thinks highly of its cooperation with the Vaad of Ukraine in restoration of Jewish cemeteries in Ukraine. In 2016, they are prepared to allocate another 1 million euro to continue this program. A part of this money – 100,000 euro – was allocated by the German government to restore the Beit-Kadishin building in the Chernovtsy Jewish cemetery.
The Vaad of Ukraine is planning to invest at least 50 thousand euro of its own funds into this project. Sergey Osachuk helped find a private sponsor who gave a written commitment to invest 100 thousand euro but asked to remain anonymous for the time being. Work continues to raise more funds: talks have been held with the Austrian Ambassador to Ukraine, a grant application has been sent to the American Foundation to Support Restoration of Cultural Heritage, and negotiations are underway with some potential sponsors. As a result of talks with President of the Association of Bukovyna Jews Yohanan Ron-Singer in fall 2015 in Jerusalem in the presence of Dan Maryan, an understanding was reached and an oral promise was given to allocate 50 thousand euro for this project.
There are currently two plans (by Austria – Markus Zechner and by Ukraine – Vyacheslav Kishlyaruk) to restore the building. Their estimated costs are 540,000 and 400,000 euro each. The restoration of the Memorial Center will cost another 150,000 euro, and the project will total 500,000 euro. By February 2016, a tender had begun to find a construction company for the repairs. Thus, after all the discussions, outside repairs can begin at the end of spring – beginning of summer 2016, and in the fall, the interior repairs can begin. By the fall of 2017, the building is expected to be finished and prepared for the exposition of the Memorial Center. In spring 2018, the Memorial Center can expected to open its doors. The Memorial Center may become a branch of the Chernovtsy Museum of History and Culture of Bukovyna Jews. Agreements are to be signed with tour companies and educational bodies of Bukovyna to offer regular educational tours to the cemetery and to the Memorial Center for students and tourists. For several years, archive materials have been collected on the Beit-Kadishin building.
In late 2015, Josef Zissels consulted chief rabbi of Bukovyna Menachem Mendel on the possibility of construction a Memorial Museum Center at the Beit-Kadishin building. The rabbi supported this idea and found nothing in it to contradict the Jewish religious rules.
220.127.116.11. Museum of History and Culture of Jews of Galicia (Lvov, Ukraine)
Carried out by: M. Martyn, B. Datsiuk, L. Bulgakova, and T. Savchenko
The Ethnographic Museum of Lviv prepared materials for research passports of Judaica objects in the museum collection. Exhibitions have been selected, photographed, their inventory books, archive materials, and attribution have been studied, then all this information has been catalogued and put down in cards in three languages. Five monuments of decorative and applied arts have been studied.
The History of Religion Museum of Lviv prepared materials for unified research passports of Judaica objects in the museum collection. Exhibitions have been selected, photographed, their inventory books, archive materials, and attribution have been studied, then all this information has been catalogued and put down in cards in three languages. Five monuments of decorative and applied arts of the 18th – 19th centuries have been studied, including ritual silver and synagogue utensils.
Note: Collection description was terminated from the second quarter of 2014 through October 2015 due to the mobilization of M. Martyn.
18.104.22.168. Museum of History and Culture of Jews of Bessarabia (Moldova)
Carried out by: E. Tsurkan and T. Savchenko
Work has been established with representative of the Chisinau Jewish community L. Tsurkan. Samples of the documents necessary for cooperation have been prepared and sent out. 400 cards have been received, 106 of which have been processed and catalogued; the rest are in the work.
A total of 116 Judaica monuments have been described and catalogued.
22.214.171.124. Search for and study of Jewish cemeteries and sites of mass burials of Jews during the Second World War, memorialization of sites of mass burials. Program Director – Yana Yanover.
The program was carried out jointly with the European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative (ESFJ).
European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative (ESFJ) was founded in Germany as a non-profit organization in the beginning of 2015. Its main purpose is providing protection and preservation of Jewish cemeteries of Europe by defining clear boundaries of cemetery lots, placing clear identification markers to define the area as a Jewish cemetery, and signing agreements with local authorities, Jewish communities, and territory owners for long-term protection of cemetery lots and construction of fences around them.
In 2015, the pilot project obtained a grant of 1,000,000 euro from the German government. As part of it, ESJF worked on 30 separate projects in four European countries. All of them were completed by the end of 2015. The initiative also created a strong and stable administrative and research structure. An economically effective standardized model was develop, which takes into consideration all the requirements of the Galachah. This model can be used to expand the project into all European countries.
We are currently aware of around 10,000 Jewish cemeteries in 46 member states of the Council of Europe. Around a third of them are in Central and Eastern Europe. Cemeteries in South-East Europe, especially in the territory of former Soviet countries, are a priority.
In 2015, work was carried out in 27 Jewish cemeteries of Ukraine (in Kiev, Rivne, Trans-Carpathian, Chernigov, and Cherkassy regions). A ceremony also took place in the Korsun-Shevchenkovsky cemetery. German Ambassador to Ukraine Dr. Christof Weil attend the ceremony.
In October 2015, with the support of EAJC and the Vaad of Ukraine, an expedition took place to Trans-Carpathians, led by Artem Fedorchuk.
The expedition studied 27 cemeteries in Beregovsky, 10 cemeteries in Khustovsky, 14 cemeteries in Rakhovsky, and 2 cemeteries in Vinogradovsky district of the Trans-Carpathian region.
Research follows the methods developed by the Center for Jewish Education of Ukraine. The outcome of the research includes: passports of objects, including historical references that are put together into database. This in its turn makes it possible to search for sponsors to restore these places and maintain them. Often, research work needs the accompaniment of competent legal advice to give the places of Jewish burials an official legal status.
3.1.2. Zeut Yehudit – Programs for fostering Jewish self-awareness
126.96.36.199. International program for teenagers History and Roots of the Jewish People. Program leader – Dr. Natalia Bakulina
Shorashim – Ukraine-2015 Project
EAJC has been holding the Shorashim summer camp in Ukraine since 2002.
The educational program of the camps is designed to introduce and expand the knowledge of the history and culture of the Ukrainian and world Jewry.
On July 25 – August 5, 2015, the Vaad of Ukraine organized a camp on the basis of the Vodohray tourist complex in the village of Chinadiyevo, Mukachev region, Trans-Carpathians. The number of participants in the camp:
79 children (more than 20 of them refugees from the East of Ukraine) and 14 adults.
The geography of participants:
- Children: Ukraine – Bila Tserkov, Berdichev, Zhitomir, Kiev, Konotop, Kremenchug, Lutsk, Lviv, Maryupil, Radomyshl, Rovno, Simferopol, Kharkov, Khmelnytsky, Shargorod; Israel – Jerusalem, Ramat Gan, Rechovot.
- Experts and madrichim: Ukraine, Israel – Kiev, Lviv, Odessa, Rovno, Jerusalem.
The concept of educational program-2015 met all the traditional goals and purposes of the project, in particular, familiarization and expansion of knowledge of the Jewish history and culture of Ukrainian and world Jewry. New topics were developed at the preparatory seminar in May 2015.
The program and the structure of the camp included:
- morning educational unit – interactive group and/or general classes on history and culture of the Jews of a certain region;
- evening educational unit – interactive group and/or general classes on history and culture of the Jews of Israel;
- creative clubs and classes: the Katimba school of madrichim, Interesting Chemistry, Painting for All, What, where, when?, Creative Workshop, Jewish Calligraphy, Cinema, The Life of Shorashim in 2 Seconds, the Scarlet Flower – Origami and Creative Work, Israel through Songs, A Path to Oneself, Games, Doctor, Everything You Wanted to Ask but were Afraid to Ask;
- tours and expeditions to the Jewish places of Trans-Carpathians;
- an interesting entertainment program;
- sports and healthcare program;
- debates, presentations, meetings with interesting people, etc.
The life of the camp could be followed online at:
- http://vk.com/club19008231 - all the pictures of Shorashim-2015
and in the press: Forum of Nations, October 2015.
Photo album: https://cloud.mail.ru/public/sz5r/SToNRPtNP
Sponsors and partners of the project:
- The Charities Aid Foundation, Great Britain - «CAF»
- The World Jewish Agency for Israel Sochnut,
- Public figures and philanthropists;
- Donations from the parents of camp participants.
- Kiev office of the Eurasian Jewish Congress,
- Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Ukraine,
- Vodohray tourist complex,
- Erabus transportation company,
- Ukrainian fire insurance company, Nova Poshta, and others.
Shorashim – Caucasus-2015
On September 2-11, 2015, the Vaad of Ukraine organized the Shorashim-Caucasus-2015 camp at the Trialeti Hotel (Bakuriani, Georgia). The camp hosted 58 children and 13 adults.
The geography of participants:
- Children: Georgia – Batumi, Borjomi, Gori, Tbilisi.
- Staff of the camp: Tbilisi (Georgia), Jerusalem (Israel), Kiev (Ukraine).
The concept of educational program-2015 met all the traditional goals and purposes of the project, in particular, familiarization and expansion of knowledge of the Jewish history and culture of Jewish communities of the Caucasus, Israel, and the Diaspora. The key topic of the camp was Exodus.
The program and the structure of the camp included:
- morning educational unit – interactive group and/or general classes on history and culture of the Jews of a certain region;
- evening educational unit – interactive group and/or general classes on history and culture of the Jews of Israel;
- creative clubs and classes: the School of Madrichim, Art Workshop, Shorashim Band, DJ workshop, Sculpture, Video, Psychology, Sports, Swimming;
- tours and expeditions to the Jewish places of Kutaisi (Jewish community, synagogue), Prometheus Caves;
- an interesting entertainment program;
- sports and healthcare program;
- debates, presentations, shows, meetings with interesting people, etc.
The life of the camp could be followed online at:
An article was also published in Georgian in Menorah №9 in 2015.
Sponsors and partners of the project:
- Kiev office of the Eurasian Jewish Congress,
- The Charities Aid Foundation, Great Britain - «CAF»,
- Public figures, successful businessmen and philanthropists such as Mark Shabad and David Yakobashvili,
- Donations from the parents of camp participants.
- Kiev office of the Eurasian Jewish Congress,
- Child Initiative program of the Jewish Culture and Education Fund, Tbilisi,
- The World Jewish Agency for Israel Sochnut,
- Trialeti Hotel, Bakuriani.
188.8.131.52. Development of the website of the Shorashim historical Jewish children's camp
With the financial support of EAJC, the development of the Jewish social information and educational online portal of the Shorashim camp (http://shorashim.in.ua/) started in November 2010. The portal is to expand the informational space of the project, help towards the growing of its experience and the drawing of new participants into this project.
Project director – Dr. Natalia Bakulina and Natalia Bertosh.
3.1.4. Support of Jewish Studies Programs
184.108.40.206. Master’s Program in Jewish Studies at the Kyiv Mohyla Academy Project. Program head – Dr. Alexey Hamray
The Master’s Program in Jewish Studies at the Kyiv Mohyla Academy project was launched in February 2012. (headed by Dr. Alexey Hamray, coordinated by Dr. Vitaly Chernoivanenko). In January 2015, the Master’s Program started active advertising in social networks (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube). Information about the program and its various events was published in order to draw as many those interested in academic Jewish studies as possible. It was also aimed at searching for potential students. YouTube published guest speakers with their lectures. By the end of 2015, its Facebook page numbered around 1000 subscribers.
In spring 2015, two publications about the program went out in the Khadashot newspaper of the Vaad of Ukraine. They were also published in a number of partners’ websites. At the same time, the program began regular e-blasts (twice a week). By the end of 2015, it was sent to almost 300 recipients.
In March 2015, program management created the Ukrainian Association of Jewish Studies that was registered as a public organization by the Ukrainian bodies of executive powers. The aim of the Association is uniting the efforts of all Ukrainian researchers involved in Jewish studies to popularize this area of studies as well as Jewish history in order to make it part of the Ukrainian context, Ukrainian textbooks, etc., to organize conferences, seminars, schools, to publish researches, etc. The president, vice president and the academic secretary of the Association are all lecturers of the Master’s Program in Jewish Studies at the Kyiv Mohyla Academy.
In June 2015, the program graduated five people with Master’s degrees in Jewish studies. Another four attendees of the program and two attendees of its in-depth Hebrew classes obtained special certificates.
In July-August, seven fulltime students and three optional-course students joined the Master’s Program at the Academy.
The program now offers first year studies to seven fulltime students and three optional-course students and second year studies to four fulltime students and two optional-course students.
Special museum-archive-library practice started in July in Kiev and Lviv for the first year students of the program.
In August, program students went to practice at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for the first time in the history of the program and university. As a result of a competition, two students (Maria Rybalchenko and Konstantyn Ponomarenko) and two graduates of the program (Oksana Remarovych and Andriy Senchenko) were chosen to work in the libraries and archives of of Jerusalem for two weeks in continuation of their own research. These students also valuable consultations on their subjects from the leading Israeli experts in Jewish studies. In 2015, the program hosted mini-courses and public lectures by guest speakers: Ilya Lurie (Israel), Yakov Rabkin (Canada) twice, Ilya Rodov (Israel), Zeyev Khanin (Israel), Andrea Peto (Hungary), Moshe Rosman (Israel), Yokhanan Petrovsky-Stern (USA), and others.
In May 2015, the program helped organize an international round table at the Kyiv Mohyla Academy. The round table was devoted to the teaching of Holocaust in Ukraine. This event was organized jointly with the Embassy of Hungary in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Studies, and others.
In April and September 2015, program coordinator Vitaly Chernoivanenko delivered guest lectures on Jewish studies at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv. In April, an agreement was reached there on cooperation between the two programs in Jewish studies.
In fall 2015, talks began on cooperation with Jewish studies programs of the University College of London and the Montreal University. The Ukrainian Jewish Studies Association began cooperation with the Polish Jewish Studies Association. In connection with the latter, the program coordinator (who is also president of the UJSA) visited a seminar on the 20th anniversary of PJSA in November 2015. The seminar was devoted to the development of academic Jewish studies in Poland and Ukraine. The program representative moderated the Ukrainian section of the seminar and presented Jewish studies programs of the Kyiv Mohyla Academy.
The program was also involved in the publication of Judaica Ukrainica. In late 2015, the program and UJSA prepared the fourth volume of this academic almanac for publication (compiled by Vitaly Chernoivanenko and Shaul Stempfer). The publication is due to go out in February 2016. The publication comes out in hard and in electronic copies (http://judaicaukrainica.ukma.edu.ua).
220.127.116.11. Certificate Program in Jewish Studies in Ukraine Project. Program head – Dr. Alexey Hamray
In 2015, three students graduated from the program and obtained certificates: T. Zaritska, M. Lykhovyd, and R. Savchenko. They obtained certificates of their Hebrew level (on the basis of a qualification test under Dr. Maryanchik’s control) and certificates of our program. Due to these documents as well as the course on the Methods of Hebrew Teaching, T. Zaritska is currently working as a Hebrew teacher at the Jewish ORT school.
In summer 2015, a large-scale advertisement campaign took place for new recruitment.
In September, 35 new students joined the program for teachers of formal and informal Jewish education in Ukraine.
New teachers were invited to be part of this program: A. Silberstein (Jewish Philosophy), N. Bakulina (Jewish Pedagogics), and N. Ufimtseva (Basic Hebrew).
Apart from this, the program includes the following courses: Introduction to Jewish Studies (V. Chernoivanenko), Intermediate Hebrew (D. Semenova), Introduction to Semitology (A.Khamray).
A number of events accompanied lectures to familiarize the students with possibilities of further studies and work following the program. In particular, the events included:
- a seminar by head of the Paideia Alumni Association A. Silberstein; its aim was to introduce the students to the operation of Paideia and prompt them to apply for a year-long program of formal education in Jewish studies. As a result, several students, including last year’s graduate R. Savchenko, applied to this program;
- a seminar by D. Semenova on possible Hebrew study at the summer school of the Jerusalem University and the possibility of getting grants for such study;
- seminars by Dr. Maryanchik on the system of Hebrew teaching in the schools of Israel and on special literature to teach and study Hebrew.
By the end of December 2015, there were 31 students in the program.
18.104.22.168. Jewish Studies School for High School Students The Wandering University: 70 Faces of Jewish Civilization.
An International School for high school students interested in Jewish history and culture, creative works, humanities and natural sciences took place in Kharkov on April 21–26, 2015. The attendees met the wonderful variety of the Jewish world: from numerous communities with their customs and practices to the long forgotten ideas and marginal groups. The School was sponsored by the Sambation Society of Creative Jewish Studies in cooperation and with the support of the Eurasian Jewish Congress and the Vaad of Ukraine.
3.1.5. Support of community and religious life
22.214.171.124. Baking, delivering, and helping to buy matzo
Matzah for Passover was a mandatory part of Jewish life even during the Soviet times. From 2003, the Eurasian Jewish Congress (EAJC) takes active part in providing matzah to the various countries of the region on the eve of the holiday. Just like before, this year’s program Matzah for the Needy Members of Jewish Communities of Eurasia remains a priority for the Congress.
In 2015, matzah baked on EAJC’s order in Kiev (at the Association of Jewish Religious Communities of Ukraine, Director – member of EAJC General Council, Yevgenyi Ziskind) was delivered to the Jews of Azerbaijan (1.75 tons), Armenia (450 kg), Belarus (3.5 tons), Georgia (3.7 tons), Kazakhstan (7.2 tons), Kyrgyzstan (800 kg), Moldova (5 tons), Russia (3.2 tons), Tajikistan (180 kg), Ukraine (14.3 tons), and Crimea (660 kg). On top of that, EAJC provided financial help to the Jewish communities of Serbia and Montenegro for independent purchase and delivery of matzah.
EAJC President Julius Meinl was the main sponsor of this action. Financial and organization assistance also came from some businessmen and organizations. Additional financial help came from the Vaad of Ukraine (co-president – Andriy Adamovsky), honorary consul of Israel in the western region of Ukraine Oleg Vishnyakov, and businessman Vlad Shkolnik (Ukraine). Businessmen and philanthropists of Belarus and Moldova also helped sponsor this program.
Organization help came from President of the Mitsvah Association of Jewish Organizations of Kazakhstan, member of the EAJC Presidium, Alexander Baron, and member of the Mitsvah Association Inessa Chuguinova who received matzah in Almaty and organized its transportation from Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan, the rabbi of Kyrgyzstan Arie Reichman who organized the transportation of matzah from Kyrgyzstan to Tajikistan.
General coordination of all organizations involved in the manufacture and delivery of matzah came from the Kiev EAJC office (led by Chairman of the EAJC General Council Josef Zissels and programs director Mila Braginskaya).
Special note should be made of the Jewish communities of Crimea and Donbass which managed to get matzah from Kiev despite the problems of Russia’s annexation of the peninsula and the military actions in the territory of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine. It was also difficult to transport matzah to Russia because of problems at the border. On the whole, the Eurasian Jewish Congress distributed more than 36.5 tons of matzah among the needy members of Jewish communities of all these countries.
3.2. Programs on fostering tolerance
3.2.1. Tolerance – Lessons of the Holocaust Program
Program Director – Nadezhda Ufimtseva
The goal of the program is to develop and implement the teaching of the Holocaust as an aide in fostering tolerance in non-Jewish schools and universities of the region. Due to the fact that a new leader came to this program, its database was being updated from January to May.
In 2015, work continued on the Tolerance – Lessons of the Holocaust Program of EAJC in Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova. First of all, 2015 brought the renewal and confirmation of grants from the Claims Conference in Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan.
In May 2015, Kiev hosted the 15th Medvinsky International Competition of Students’ Works. More than 50 participants competed from different cities of Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova. The competition was organized by the Ukrainian Holocaust Study Center jointly with EAJC and with support of the Israeli Embassy in Ukraine, the Kiev Office of the Council of Europe in Ukraine, and the German EVZ Foundation.
In August 2015, Kirovograd hosted a seminar for teachers of history and humanitarian disciplines with the support of EAJC. Teachers from Belarus and Moldova also attended. In October, teachers from Moldova joined a Ukrainian group to attend an educational seminar in Yad Vashem (Israel). In 2016, graduate of the seminar, Petru Golban from Moldova, was awarded for active educational activities in teaching about the Holocaust in a Chisinau school.
In 2015, Director of the Jewish Community of Moldova Marina Lekartseva and the coordinator of the Tolerance – Lessons of the Holocaust Program of EAJC helped prolong the agreement on cooperation between the Jewish community and the Education Ministry in teaching the history of the Holocaust in Moldova and on teacher training. The original agreement between EAJC, the Jewish community of Moldova and the Education Ministry was signed in 2012. This agreement also envisages organization of the annual national competition of school research and creative works on the subject of Tolerance – Lessons of the Holocaust. Authors of the best works nationwide will compete in the Medvinsky International Competition of Students’ Works in May 2016. This competition is sponsored by the Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Studies.
In October, a seminar took place on teaching the history of the Holocaust as part of forman and informal education in Belarus. 29 teachers of secondary schools, museum workers, organizers of optional activities, college teachers from all regions of Belarus came to attend the seminar.
The intensive program of the seminar was based on theory and practice. General theory and training methods were wonderfully presented by Anatoly Podolsky and Vitaly Bobrov, employees of the Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Study, and Nadezhda Ufimtseva, coordinator of the Tolerance – Lessons of the Holocaust program. Apart from lectures, seminar participants also took part in training and debates on the dilemmas and propaganda in the occupied territories. The trainers also offered some methodological developments on the basis of memoirs, documents, and even movies.
The seminar became possible due to a grant from the Claims Conference. Partners of EAJC in organizing this seminar were: the Union of Belarussian Jewish Public Associations and Communities (Boris Gersten and Victoria Brumina), the Holocaust Republican Fund Public Association (Vadim Akopyan), and the Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Study (Anatoly Podolsky). Graduates of this and previous years’ seminars started preparing students for participation in the Medvinsky International Competition of Students’ Works.
3.2.2. Education in inter-ethnic and interfaith tolerance for children and youth
126.96.36.199. International inter-ethnic children's camp Sources of Tolerance – Ukraine-2015
International inter-ethnic children's camp Sources of Tolerance is a platform for communication between different ethnic communities of Ukraine. The project was created to give opportunity for children to overcome inter-ethnic stereotypes and get familiar with traditions of other countries while playing. While resting together, they learn to cooperate, consider mindset peculiarities of each other and respect other nationalities. In other words, to co-exist peacefully at the same territory in spite of differences.
This year, besides national days, we also scheduled topical Intro – Steps Towards Dialogue, Docutabir – Movies on Human Rights, Soccer Against Racism, and other educational events. Their main purpose was to develop critical thinking and teach to tolerate human diversity. We gave enough weight to children stress recovery, caused by stringent politico-social situation in the country.
Camp participants are children from Ukraine’s different ethnic communities – Bulgarians, Armenians, Vietnamese, Greeks, Jews, Crimean Tatars, Georgians, Lithuanians, Germans, Poles, Romanians, Russians, Roma, and Ukrainians. Because of the situation in Ukraine, it is important to emphasize that organizers provided individual scholarships for displaced children from Donbass and Crimea.
Camp functions according to the methodology of cultural immersion. Tutors are members of different ethnic communities of Ukraine, who underwent special training at our seminars. Over 50% of camp employees are former project graduates. The following human rights public activists and experts worked with children: dissident and camp project designer Joseph Zissels, Euromaydan SOS project designer Alexandra Delemenchuk, Crimean Tatar potters Rustam Skibin and Memet Iemiramzaiev, civic education schoolbook author Alexander Voitenko, Head of the Human Rights Infocenter Tatiana Pechonchik.
International inter-ethnic children's camp Sources of Tolerance project was launched in 2002. Camp venue changes for the purpose of approbation and implementation of the developed methodology tailored for kids from different national communities across Ukraine and for project territorial extension to help kids familiarize with all Ukrainian regions peculiarities. To participate in the camp, children have to prepare a special piece and be active members of the national community, bearers of the respective culture and language. Starting in 2008, children from refugee families who came to Ukraine from different countries of the world also attend the camp.
Since 2011, camp methodology is applied in Moldova and Georgia upon our methodological guidance and EAJC financial support.
Camp exists due to support from the International Renaissance Foundation, the Infopulse Ukraine, the Dutch Embassy in Ukraine, the Eurasian Jewish congress (EAJC), the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Ukraine (Vaad), the Social Action Center (a project funded by EU), Xena, philanthropists Volodymyr Shpilfogel, Alexander Loifendeld, Igor Kerez, Oleg Vishniakov, Konstantin Kruglov, Inna Sergienko, Anatoliy Otchenash, and charity donations from parents.
Movies for the Human Rights Day were kindly provided by the Docudays Documentary Movie Festival on Human Rights. Administrative support was provided by the Chernivtsi Museum of History and Culture.
Camp had two shifts, where children were divided by age. It took place at the Sun Valley tourist complex of the Boiany vallage of Novoselitsky region in Chernivtsi:
July 8 - 17: 90 kids of 8-12 years-old and 29 tutors from 15 ethnic communities;
July 23 - Aug 5: 93 kids from 27 employees and 3 experts from 10 ethnic communities.
188.8.131.52. The international interethnic children’s camp Sources of Tolerance – Moldova-2015
July 23-25, a preparatory seminar for the employees of the international Sources of Tolerance camp took place at the Odiseu tourist complex in the village of Vadul-luy-Vodeh. To help advance the professional competence of the employees and set up the goals of the program, the following international coaches were invited: Angela Frolov (Gender-Doc, Moldova), Yulia Filippovskaya (the In-Depth Democracy Institute, Ukraine), and Alesya Vidruk (Civil Rights Defenders, Belarus).
July 26 – August 6, the 5th annual international inter-ethnic Sources of Tolerance camp took place in Moldova. Its participants and teacher represented the Bulgarian, Gagauz, Greek, Jewish, Moldovan, Polish, Roma, Russian, and Ukrainian communities. Among the participants were children refugees from Syria, India, Uzbekistan and the East of Ukraine. Children and adults came together from various parts of Moldova, including the Gagauz autonomy and Trans-Dniester region, as well as from Ukraine, Russia, and the Netherlands. In order to attend the camp, the children had to compete on the topic “I have a dream” based on the speech of Martin Luther King.
In their works, children dreamed about doing something for the country as its citizens, as the residents of their cities, as representatives of their communities, and as students of their schools – the people of this world striving to make this world a better place.
During the opening ceremony on July 26, the participants and guests of the camp had a chance to meet the ethnic variety of Moldova through songs, dances and many other things. The guests of the event wished every success to its participants, and encouraged them to enjoy the variety of cultures represented in Moldova.
Representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Sergey Gaina noted that “each of us has such a variety, and it concerns more than just our cultural and ethnic characteristics”.
Director of Civil Rights Defender Alesya Vidruk voiced hope that each of the participants in the camp would understand that “we are all different, all representatives of different nationalities and different cultures, but we are all worthy of equal respect”.
This is the fifth children’s inter-ethnic camp in Moldova. The goal of this project is to create an atmosphere of a dialogue between ethnic groups, the fostering of ethnic tolerance in the young generation, combatting xenophobia, forming of an active civil position with young people of ethnic communities, and the spreading of knowledge of the ethnic variety of Moldova.
The project was aimed at 82 children of 10-17 years old. Among the participants were representatives of eight ethnic and religious communities of Moldova as well as a group of refugees.
The team of the project included 24 teachers of ethnic communities of Moldova and professional psychologists.
The camp was visited by Chairman of the EAJC General Council Josef Zissels, Vice Consul of the Polish Embassy in Moldova Pavel Nedzhevedsky; representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Sergey Gaina and representatives of the partner Avi-Copiii organization, Director of Civil Rights Defender Alesya Vidruk, Chairman of the Jewish Community of Moldova Alexander Bilinkis and Vice Chairman Sh. Khanukayev, as well as Director of the Jewish Kedem Culture Center Stella Kharmelina. Some partner organizations made significant contribution to our project:
- Volunteers of the Peace Corps and the EVS program, representatives of the Jewish Kedem Culture Center, the Fatima organization, and the Roma community took pactive part in the Living Library on Tolerance Day.
- Representatives of the Polish community and workers of the Embassy helped implement the Polish Day agenda.
- Workers of the Museum of Jewish Heritage of Moldova under Kedem and Chairman of the EAJC General Council Josef Zissels helped form a picture of the Jewish culture and history, including that of the Bessarabia Jews.
- The director of the Social Theater Spalatorie, the director of the Public Association Speranta for teaching and rehabilitation of special needs children, the coordinator of the Chisinau Tolerance Club, the coordinator of the Coalitie nedescriminarii program for human rights in education, the coordinator of the Tabletochki international charity fund spoke about their projects and activities during the Social Changes Day of «I have a dream».
Organizers of the Sources of Tolerance camp: the Diversitate Center for Informal and formal Education in partnership with the Eurasian Jewish Congress and the Kedem Jewish Culture Center. The project beame a reality with the support of the Eurasian Jewish Congress, tthe Civil Rights Defenders, vice president of the Eurasian Jewish Congress Mark Shabad, the Jewish community of Moldova, the Polish Embassy, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, as well as Alexander Kopansky and Harry Galanter.
Materials on the project in the mass media:
184.108.40.206. Sources of Tolerance – Caucasus-2015
On August 5-15, the international Sources of Tolerance – Caucasus-2015 camp took place in Bakuriani. This project has been a great success in Ukraine for the past 10 years. It is the third camp of the kind in Georgia. Yekaterina Chuchulashvili, a talented teacher, became its director. She has rich experience in the Ukrainian and Moldovan Sources of Tolerance camps in the past.
The goal of the camp is to unite the children around the idea of tolerance and respect to each other by immersing the children of different ethnic groups into the lives of other nations in such multinational countries as Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia.
The project involved 120 children and adults from Georgia, Armenia, Belarus, and Ukraine. They represented the Georgian, Yezid, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Jewish, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Roma, Osetin, and Belarus communities.
In the course of ten days, the children studied the cultures of these nations, their history, languages, literature, arts, traditions, holidays, and cuisine. The children also had workshops on acting skills, journalism, psychology, dancing, and singing. Apart from the ethnic program of the camp, each day the children took active part in debates, classes and trainings on the subject of tolerance. Together, they learned to combat stereotypes, to love and respect those who are different, who speak other languages or pray in a different way, but who have the same kind and brilliant dreams.
Before the opening of the camp, its workers underwent a preparatory methodological seminar on August 3–5.
Special guests attended the opening of the camp, in particular, Executive Director of the Analytical Center for Ethnic Cooperation and Consultations, Agit Mirzoyev.
The Eurasian Jewish Congress provides financial support to the project.
220.127.116.11. "European Camp 2015" is an innovative project for children and teenagers. It was carried out for the first time in Ukraine. As the project is innovative, high quality methodical and informational preparation has been really important for its employees. Several seminars have been held. On April 24-26, a seminar on planning and preparation of a number of summer camps for children and teenagers was held, in financing and organization of which EAJC takes an active part. Over 40 educators, methodologists, teachers, psychologists, and trainers from all over Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia attended the seminar. EAJC General Council Chairman Joseph Zissels took active part in the seminar and introduced the concept of the "European Camp", which was then actively discussed in the course of the seminar. The concept implies using the methodical idea of immersion, and not just into ethnic and confessional cultures, but also into the environment of European values. During the seminar, the new idea was brainstormed and selection started of methodical propositions and forming of the team for a new camp. On July 1-3, a three-day preoperational seminar took place at the Verkhovyna complex in Kiev. At the seminar, the team developed methods and ways of realization of the concept of the camp within the theme of the designated days.
On July 30, the presentation of the first international project European Camp for teenagers took place at the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center (Kreshchatyk Str., 2, the Ukraine House) where the organizers presented their initiative. They introduced the displaced children, children from the combat zone, and children of the heroes of the counterterrorist operation to it. The creators of the project told the audience about the idea of the camp, about the conditions of the selection of participants, and about its program.
European Camp-2015 was held August 20-30 at Vodohrai in the village Chinadievo of Mukachevo region, Trans-Carpathians. 100 children took part in the project: 80 displaced children from Donbass and Crimea and 20 participants of the international Sources of Tolerance project and the Building Bridges Instead of Walls training. All the children were 12-17 years old.
The children had the possibility to get to know and to be absorbed in the European economy, culture, education, to find out the main principles of operation of the mass media, to join the Environmental Day, and to become a participant in an election campaign. On Solidarity Day, teenagers visited their peers in an orphanage. And on the day of excursion, the participants in the camp visited the Consulate of Hungary, the Uzhgorod Castle, the Palanok Castle, and the Counts Shenborns’ Palace.
The thematic days were really saturated: on the Economy Day, children were given the task to earn some money and to create their own business projects; on the Education Day, they had to create a special reading popularization project, to write motivational letters for overseas internship; on Culture Day, children were learning how to dance the Viennese waltz, sing, create paintings, and learned some architecture. There was also a system of government created in the camp, and elections took place to the parliament of two chambers; a constitution was created with the oppositional press functioning.
The camp was attended by guests: author of the project of the camp Joseph Zissels, mp and journalist Mustafa Nayyem, mp Valery Patskan, Head of the Trans-Carpathian regional police Sergey Kniazev.
October 16-18, a three-day post-camp seminar summarized the European Camp at the Verkhovyna hotel in Kyiv. During that seminar, the project team analyzed the operation of the camp and developed further plans for its activities.
The European Camp-2015 project was organized with the assistance of the International Renaissance Foundation, the Infopuls-Ukraina LTD, the Euroasian Jewish Congress (EAJC), the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Ukraine (Vaad), James Temerty, Anatoly Otchenash, and donations from parents.
18.104.22.168 Building Bridges Instead of Walls Training Course for teenagers of 12-17 took place October 26 - November 1 at the Sun Valley tourist complex of the Boiany vallage of Novoselitsky region in Chernivtsi:
Approximately 80 teenagers took part in the project, most of them the displaced from Lugansk and Donetsk regions and their peers from other regions. The aim of the course was promoting integration of the displaced teenagers, psychological rehabilitation, creating opportunities for dialogue and joint training and action for resolving conflicts. The course was organized by the Congress of Ethnic Communities of Ukraine (CECU) in cooperation with the Space of Tolerance Culture and Education Center.
3.2.3. Tolerance Clubs for teenagers
22.214.171.124 Kiev Tolerance Club KIT, a Club for Migrants
1* On February 8, an action of solidarity with the Children-404 project for LGBT teenagers took place at the Kiev Tolerance Club. Activists of the Tolerance Club, students of Kiev colleges and universities, guests from Odessa, Lviv, Poland, Germany, Bolivia, and Russia watched the trailer to the Children-404 film and shared their thoughts on the questions risen there.
2* On March 7, the International Women's Rights Day, the recital of music, song and poetry in female voices took place. Over 40 participants and guests of the Kiev Tolerance Club came in support of emancipation. During the event, girls sang songs and recited poems in Ukrainian, English, Russian, and Greek, sharing their personal motives for the fight for gender equality. Toler-Band Nuclear Peace and friends performed. This event was aimed at providing space for self-expression of feminine voices, which are often drowned in the patriarchal society.
3* On March 22, the classes on tolerance for children of 6-9 were held in the DocuSadok program of the International Festival of Documentaries on Human Rights.
4* On November 8, another action of solidarity with the Children-404 project for LGBT teenagers took place at the Kiev Tolerance Club. It centered around the discussion on the topic "The imperceptible world around me". A concert followed.
5* On February 15, the opening of the METRO Tolerance Club took place in the city of Chernivtsi (the Chernivtsi Museum of the History and Culture of Bukovyna Jews).
126.96.36.199. The Kedem Tolerance Club in Chisinau.
Sessions of the Tolerance Club take place every Sunday at the Kedem Jewish Culture Center. Classes begin at 4:00 p.m. and last through 7:00 p.m. Weekly classes are attended by 10-25 teenagers and young people from 13 to 25 years old. Various subjects get discussed at the Club.
The following are the most important annual events of the Club:
The opening of the season at the Tolerance Club; jointly with the Kedem Center.
The Tolerance Club opens its new seasons every year after the summer vacation is over. This is a long-awaited meeting of children who attended the Sources of Tolerance camps with their counselors, with new and long-standing participants in these Sunday sessions. Guests and children present a concert followed by a digest of videos from the summer camp, interesting events and an opportunity to get one’s favorite photo home. The musician of the latest Sources of Tolerance camp invited the Odessa-based Kolir band to the opening of the new 2015 season of the Tolerance Club. Up to 70 people attended the opening.
The opening of the 2015-2016 season: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.952198498152344.1073741840.659283950777135&type=3
The opening of the 2014-2015 season: http://tolerspace.org.md/new_season.html
Annual Spring Languages Festival takes place in cooperation with the Kedem Center, the Embassies of Lithuania, Hungary, and Germany, the French and the Russian educational centers, the Peace Corps, the EVS international volunteer network, as well as universities and ethnic communities of Moldova.
The Language Festival is an opportunity to learn about different languages that can be found inside and outside of Moldova. Representatives of 18 cultures are eager to introduce their guests with their mother tongues. Informal atmosphere helps teachers demonstrate the beauty of their language in a free and open form (dances, songs, poetry, etc.). This expands the guests’ image of the ethnic and language variety of Moldova and the countries of Europe, Asia, and Africa. The Festival is a culture bridge between people that makes it possible to get to know the culture of other countries and nations. One needs no visas or money for every step brings one into a different country. The Festival takes place as part of the pan-European Week Against Racism with the support of UNITED and the Diversitate Center for Informal Education (around 200 participants).
Annual Summer School of Counselors
The School of Counselors is a course by psychologists, methodologists and teachers of our camp. We offer our future counselors to familiarize themselves with specifics of our camp work and our traditions, while our long-term counselors share their own unique experience of how to work with kids and organize their recreation. Theory (dry but necessary) is accompanied with practical classes: games, trainings and seminars (20 people).
3.3. The Nations Forum newspaper. Editor-in-chief – Tatiana Khorunzhaya.
The Nations Forum is devoted to ethnic policy problems and problems of the cultures of ethnic communities of Ukraine. The publication can be found at: http://www.forumn.kiev.ua It popularizes the experience of the international ethnic Sources of Tolerance camp and publishes reviews along with interviews with camp leaders, counselors, and children. Outstanding figures of science, public figures, writers, and leaders of public organizations and ethnic minorities of Ukraine cooperate with this publication.
Issues: №9 / 155 - September, №7-8 / 153-154 - July-August, №6 / 152 - June, №4-5 / 150-151 - May, №3 / 149 - April, №2 / 148 - February, №1 / 147 – January; circulation of 1,000 copies; free distribution among ethnic communities of Ukraine, government structures and research institutions.
4. YOUTH PROGRAMS
5.2. Winter University – 2015: International Winter Sports and Education Forum for Jewish Students and Young Professionals
The Winter University – 2015 Forum sponsored by UUJS with the support of EAJC, the Vaad of Ukraine and the World Jewish Congress (WJC) took place on January 25–31 in Poland and Bukovel (Ukraine). 85 participants from 12 countries attended the Forum.
The Winter-U program included tours of the Jewish places of Lviv, workshops on various interests, debates, evening entertainment, and skiing.
Forum participants also visited Krakow (Poland) with its world known Jewish and non-Jewish sights, visited the Museum of the History of the Jews of Galicia, met with representatives of the Jewish community of Krakow and Polish youth, delegations from all over the world and WJC representatives who came together in Poland to commemorate the 70th anniversary of liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.
5. LOCAL PROJECTS
6.1. Support of the Vaad of Ukraine’s projects
6.1.1. The Khadashot newspaper. Editor-in-chief – Mikhail Gold.
The paper goes out since January 1991 and is one of the oldest Jewish publications in the territory of the former USSR. Today, Khadashot is the only pan-Ukrainian Jewish publication.
The paper has 12 А3 pages (4 of them in full color). Its circulation is 4,500 copies. Its electronic version is regularly updated online at http://www.hadashot.kiev.ua. The newspaper is distributed for free by its editorial office in three hundred Jewish organizations and communities - from Mariupol in the south to Chernigiv in the north, from Khust in the west to Kharkiv in the east. In addition to Jewish communities and organizations, the newspaper comes to various committees of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the Presidential Secretariat, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, as well as to private individuals. The circulation is distributed partly at public events including international conferences and forums in Israel and other countries.
The paper is focused on strong-minded and relatively young readers and is represented as a new type of publication. Original publications on a variety of problems contain the vast majority of its materials.
Year by year the newspaper becomes more popular in social networks where the audience is much younger than the community on the average. 2015 was marked by a sharp increase of regular Facebook subscribers up to 2500, including residents of Ukraine, the United States, Israel, Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, and many other countries.
A wide range of topical issues raised in the pages of Khadashot, nontrivial estimates and opinions of the authors have contributed to a significant increase in non-Jewish audience, mainly in Ukraine. The most debatable materials are copied then in national media, which stimulates interest to the publication much more than before, when it was strictly limited to the Jewish community.
In 2015, the number of copies of Khadashot publications by various mass media grew significantly in Israel, USA, Germany, and Russia. Among them are such big resources as the website of Israel’s Channel 9, Israel’s major Russian-language analytical portal zahav.ru, the Jewish World and We Are Here publications (USA), the Jewish Panorama (Germany), the 7/40 portal (Russia), etc.
In 2015, Khadashot published the views of well-known experts and leaders, including Head of the Ukrainian Tkumah Institute for Holocaust Study Igor Schupak, Head of the Ukrainian Catholic University Miroslav Marinovich, Head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Head of the Vaad of Ukraine Josef Zissels, chief academic of the Israeli Ministry for Absorption Zeyev Khanin, sociologist and political scientist Alec Epstein, Knesset mp, journalist and political commentator Ksenia Svetlova, demographist Yakov Faytelson, historians Vitaly Nakhmanovich (Ukraine), Ilya Lurye (Israel), Alexander Lokshin (Russia), author of the unique Yiddish-Ukrainian dictionary Dmitry Tischenko, Director of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory Vladimir Viatrovich, professor of the Montreal University Yakov Rabkin, expert in rightist extremism and xenophobia Vyacheslav Likhachev and many others.
Combining the printed and electronic versions of the publication as well as its presence in social networks helps cover all the segments of our readers which makes this publication unique among the Jewish mass media.
- the Vaad of Ukraine;
- the Dutch Jewish Humanitarian Fund.
5.1.2. International Academic Conference on Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky and the Jewish communities during World War II. World War II and the Fate of Civilians in Eastern Europe. November 30 - December 1 - the Museum of the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy hosted the International Academic Conference “Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky and the Jewish communities during World War II. World War II and the fate of civilians in Eastern Europe.”
The history of World War II in the territory of Ukraine and the former Soviet Union was studied insufficiently. As usual, Soviet researchers were biased and ideologically partisan. European and American scientists had almost no access to many archives, therefore their works cannot be considered complete.
One of the most important tasks was to highlight unexplored aspects of the following problems: the Soviet occupation of the Western lands, Nazi and Soviet policies on the most vulnerable social groups (Jews, Gypsies, prisoners), the life of local communities under occupation, etc. Special attention of the conference organizers and participants was paid to the personality of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky, who tried to save Ukrainians, Poles and Jews to the best of his abilities.
The conference opened with addresses of special guests: Supreme Archbishop of Kiev and Halychyna, Metropolitan of Kiev, Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Svyatoslav Shevchuk; Minister of Culture of Ukraine Vyacheslav Kyrylenko, Executive Co-President of the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities (Vaad) of Ukraine Joseph Zissels. Ukrainian and foreign researchers attended in the conference. Researchers from all over Ukraine presented their papers: from Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk to Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Odessa and Simferopol. Participation of Polish and Belarusian colleagues expanded the event to the scale of an East-European conference.
The traveling exhibition “Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky – the Moses of the Ukrainian people” was presented to guests and participants. The exhibition was organized by the State Archives of Ivano-Frankivsk Region.
Organizers of the conference will publish the reports.
The event was covered by the media. In particular, the Espreso.tv, Public Radio and Culture Radio presented stories and interviews with participants and organizers of the conference.
The conference took place due to the support of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities (Vaad) of Ukraine, and the Kiev Office of the Eurasian Jewish Congress.
5.2. Support of the Zionist Federation of Ukraine (ZFU).
Acting Executive Director – Yelena Zaslavska
In 2014, the Federation continued preparations for and organization of the elections of delegates to the 37th Zionist Congress from the Jews of Ukraine.
Beginning of active preparations for the elections – March 2015.
Elections took place from June 10 through August 15, 2015.
Vote count started August 18, 2015; a report was sent on September 1, 2015.
As a result, seven delegates from parties that had won the most votes were able to represent the Jewish community at the Congress.
The Vaad of Ukraine has a more detailed report on the elections.
December 6, 2015, ZFU Board session changed the leadership of ZFU.
Artem Kobzan was elected acting Chairman of ZFU; Yelena Zaslavskaya was elected acting Executive Director of ZFU. They will hold these positions till the ZFU congress at the end of 2016.
Chairman of the EAJC General Council Josef Zissels
Director of EAJC Programs Mila Braginskaya