Young people of Russian background, coming from secular homes and with little or no formal Jewish education, are considered among the most unaffiliated and at-risk of American Jews in terms of Jewish identity. But a comprehensive new study of that cohort finds that a Brooklyn-based program founded in 2006 to address the problem has produced some striking results.
They express their Jewish identity more through culture than religion.
Editor and Publisher
Gennadiy Elikman came with his family to Chicago from Moldova, formerly a part of the Soviet Union, as a teenager in 1999. He was immediately enrolled at the Ida Crown Jewish Academy, a Modern Orthodox day school, knowing “nothing, zero” about Judaism, he says. But he has a vivid memory of being given a Torah to hold. “I didn’t know what it was but my hands began to shake — it was a powerful feeling.”