AVI CHAI concluded its general grant making on December 31, 2019.

Judaic Enhancement in Jewish Day Schools in the FSU

Toward the end of the 2009/10 academic year, in the 25 schools eligible for this grant – representing Jewish day schools in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Rostov, Novosibirsk, Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa, Zhitomir, Lugansk, Donetsk, Dniepropetrovsk, and Riga – the following programs have taken place thus far: (1) 57 Shabbatonim, with an estimated 3,250 participants with many Shabbatonim (specifically for younger grades) including parents; (2) 25 extended-day programs, including Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparations, Jewish school newspapers, inter-school Jewish musical performances, in which 750 students participate, and (3) the expansion of in-school Jewish libraries, open to parents and children.
A new development of this grant is the initiation of a program that provides educational support and training for high school students (in the 9th to 11th grades) who express interest to serve as Shabbaton and Jewish retreat leaders. Piloted in five schools in 2009/10, this program includes the development of thematic games, informal Jewish resources and program materials, ways of using books on Jewish themes to lead session discussions, the creation of a data bank of Batei Midrash (which in this case refers to employing Jewish texts with a combination of music, art, theater, and dance mediums), educational materials for informal Jewish programs, and a leadership training component. Supervised by a number of local Jewish educators, 35 high school students have taken part in three different training seminars thus far, with a committee of school teachers, principals, students, and educators continuing to develop this program which hopes to expand to additional schools in the coming year.
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