JDC Entwine celebrates a diverse mosaic of global Jewish identities. As Russian Speaking Jewish young professionals with family immigration stories out of the former Soviet Union, we approach Jewish community differently! We welcome you in all your layered identities, and invite you to explore, connect and activate. Our work with North American young professionals from Russian Speaking Jewish families from the Soviet Union has been made possible with the generous support of Genesis Philanthropy Group.

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ABOUT THE PODCAST

Not Your Babushka’s Russian Speaking Jew

What values guide your compass and how do you activate? Host Margarita Korol speaks with fellow Russian Speaking Jewish young professionals about their complex identity and finding community locally and globally.

This project has been made possible with the generous support of Genesis Philanthropy Group.

S1E1

RSJ in the USA 101

About This Episode

In this episode, Margarita speaks with Caroline and Matt, who joined her on last fall’s trip to Ukraine to experience revitalized Jewish life there since their families immigrated to the US to escape Soviet oppression. Asher Ostrin, interim CEO of JDC weighs in on how he started showing up for Soviet Jews after a meaningful trip to Israel inspired him to take action in a direction that would eventually lead to his impactful career with the Joint.

S1E2

Owning Our Traditions

About This Episode

In this second episode of Not Your Babushka’s Russian Speaking Jew, we explore the “why” that drives RSJ young professionals, with and without recent immigrations out of the FSU. We hear stories of how these intentions manifest in RSJ community builders around the world, in our relationships in our own communities, and in our careers, with a fascinating spotlight on the comeup of an RSJ drag performer in NYC.

Guests: Katya Rouzina, Victor Riffel

S1E3

Babushkas in the Time of Corona

About This Episode

Now that we’ve established the importance of naming the intentions and values you’re showing up in your relationships with, we think about arevut, the value that drives people to support those in need. Where does that value come from? We hear three stories—first to Chicago, where Margarita speaks with Lee Litas, journalist and general manager of Forever Young, the senior daycare center that her mother, Chicago radio personality “Martochka” Litas, cofounded to help the same elderly population who enjoyed her shows and events. Then we head to Odesa where we hear from JDC’s Inna Vdovichenko about other ways JDC has evolved its response in caring for Jewish elderly—and finally to Brooklyn with Allen Meyerovich whose grandfather’s values are inspiring his dedicating time each week to help an elderly JDC client ward off the social effects of isolation during the pandemic through Entwine’s Insider Connections Virtual Service opportunity.

S1E4

We Are a Family

About This Episode

Margarita’s mother shares her immigration journey as a lone refugee with a toddler in the Soviet Pipeline, helped by JDC in Vienna en route to Chicago. Another Jewkrainian now living in Tel Aviv, Sasha Belenky talks growing up RSJ in Louisville with a drive towards social justice reflected in systems design. Julie Yepishina-Geller Cavanagh reflects on her Calgarian RSJ experience.

S1E5

Assiyah Means Acting on your Values

About This Episode

In lieu of travel slides, Margarita shares some clips from the recent JDC Entwine Jewish Odesa virtual trip exploring JDC’s work in the region, and how it has inspired participants to activate in their own communities. Participant Fima Zaltsman, a Nice Jewish Boy and RSJ Biologist in San Francisco (by way of Moscow/ Michigan/ Midwest), shares.

S1E6

Money Talks

About This Episode

In our season finale, we look at philanthropy as an avenue for young people to consider for activating their potential to uplift vulnerable community members locally and globally. This is a chance to challenge the belief we hear inside and outside RSJ circles that RSJs “don’t do philanthropy.” JDC Board Member Ed Mermelstein and Moishe House‘s Senior Director of RSJ Projects, Yana Tolmacheva share insights.

Margarita
Korol

Margarita Korol, the host of the Not Your Babushka’s Russian Speaking Jew podcast, is an artist and serves JDC Entwine’s community members from Russian Speaking Jewish families. She was born in Ukraine the week of the Chernobyl disaster to a Jewish family, with her mother’s side fleeing Soviet persecution as refugees for Chicago, with the aid of JDC and other community organizations.

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Sign up for Insider Connections Global Virtual Service!

Calling all Russian (& English/ Hebrew/ Arabic/ and beyond) speakers! —A concrete way to connect both a JDC client abroad and yourself to the global Jewish community. For just an hour or two a week, you can engage in meaningful service from home. A new cohort launches regularly—heads up for a Victory Day-themed cohort launching in May, an opportunity for Russian speaking participants to connect with Russian speaking veterans in Israel!

Learn More >>

Join an Immersive Learning Experience!

We have a variety of incredible opportunities for connecting with JDC’s work and the ethos of mutual responsibility that led the organization’s century-old legacy of global humanitarian work. From Odesa, Georgia, Morocco and beyond, immerse in relationships with global community members along with other diverse, growth minded young professionals. Check out Entwine’s Thread to see the latest learning service opportunities that range in commitment lift—or, schedule a coffee break with Entwine’s Russian Speaking Jewish Community Manager.

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Host a Global Shabbat or Passover Dinner through the lens of global Jewish Communities

The self care ritual of marking a shift from work mode to chill mode is a sort of rebellion against the values of the dehumanizing oppressive regimes that separated us from these traditions for generations.

Host a Global Shabbat >>

Host a Passover Dinner >>

Host a Films From the Field Watch Party!

Art is a great access point to global communities, and film is a great place to start! This toolkit sets you up with opportunities to explore Jewish community stories in Cuba, Poland and beyond—or you can adapt discussion guides and popcorn recipes to screen other films from Old Country you’ve been meaning to (re)watch with friends.

Learn More >>

Find Your Family Story in the JDC Archives

If your family immigrated out of the Soviet Union with a stop in Vienna and Italy, chances are you have a JDC touchpoint in your story. Explore JDC Archives database for historic photos from JDC’s work in the region since Stalin era. Entwine’s Russian Speaking Jewish community manager can help you navigate searching up family records that have not yet been digitized in the collection. Schedule a conversation with the Community Manager >> to talk out your vision.

Explore the JDC Archives >>

Develop your own personal relationship with intentional philanthropy.

Download Entwine’s Guide to Giving, and explore what giving means to you and how you can make an impact on communities around the world.

Learn More >>

Watch СМОТРИТЕ

"I Came Home": Katya's Story

"I began to really understand that JDC wasn’t just another nonprofit organization, that just talked the talk but didn’t walk the walk. Because I’m the one who gets to see and understand in the original language the people that JDC really affects.” Born in St. Petersburg, Katya Rouzina left for the United States when she was just a toddler. Thirty years later, she moved to Kharkiv, Ukraine to volunteer with JDC Entwine as the Roslyn Z. Wolf Global Jewish Service Corps Fellow. Her unexpected journey back to living in the former Soviet Union began in 2016, when she took a gig as a Russian translator for JDC. Poring over hours of interview footage of vulnerable elderly Jews, families with special needs, and AJT - Active Jewish Teens participants, Katya soon found herself craving a deeper connection, eventually leading her to quit her tech job and join JDC overseas.

Posted by JDC on Friday, June 12, 2020

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L’Dor Va’Dor: From Generation to Generation

Sarah Tagger, the 2021 Ralph I. Goldman Fellow, shares about her family roots from the former Soviet Union in the launch of her Fellowship blog.

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Russian-Jewish Identity Crisis: Something To Laugh At

At the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in the East Village on Monday night, the jokes would have been tragic if they weren’t so funny.

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Caring for the Last Holocaust Survivors

More than 122,000 vulnerable elderly Jews across the former Soviet Union benefit today from critical social services provided by the network of Hesed centers that JDC helped establish over the past two-plus decades and other community organizations.

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Ilia Salita, Genesis Philanthropy Group head, die

Salita led the organization’s efforts to engage and inspire young Jews around the world, and touched the lives of countless people.

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Graduation

A Jewish Ukrainian immigrant needed a voice to help reconcile her foreign past and her American future. She found it—in Kanye West.

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Do you recognize someone?

Find family photos in JDC Archives Photo Collection to help identify individuals.

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The Tikkun Olam Debate is No Debate at All

Entwine Founder, Sarah Eisenman, is featured in the latest edition of the Peoplehood Papers, a collection of 15 essays by leading Jewish thinkers and exploring Jewish peoplehood and Tikkun Olam.

Her essay, titled ‘The Tikkun Olam Debate is No Debate at All’, explores modern thinking about how Tikkun Olam is a fundamental part of global Jewish identity today!

Read more >>

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