When the Iron Curtain fell in 1991, over a million Jews from the Former Soviet Union (FSU) immigrated to Israel. What many people don’t realize is that close to another million stayed behind!
Shvut Ami started out as an organization whose purpose was to help the Russian Jews who had arrived in Israel to learn more about their forgotten Heritage. Shvut Ami set up family education centers around the country and was servicing several thousand people, young and old alike.
But as the Russian exodus slowed down, we started to focus more on the hundreds of thousands of Jews who remained in the FSU who, as a direct result of decades of communistic rule, were almost completely disconnected from Jewish life.
Over the last 25 years, Shvut Ami in Israel has trained over 160 Russian Rabbis and teachers and sent many of them back to help rebuild the Jewish Community in the FSU.
Today, as a world leader in this field, Shvut Ami continues to work tirelessly to educate & inspire unaffiliated Russian Jews and to enhance their connection to the Land of Israel. Our 25 Shvut-Ami-trained Shlichim (emissaries) travel back and forth from Israel to eight different countries in the FSU throughout the year, working together with many other outreach organizations and giving thousands of individuals an opportunity to marry Jewish and to live Jewish lives.
The famous Soviet refusenik and hero, Natan Sharansky, recently estimated the intermarriage rate across the FSU to be between 80 and 90 percent. If we compare that number to the American rate of 58 percent, the British rate of 26 percent or the South African rate of 7 percent, we can start to understand why this is such a serious and urgent issue!
Hundreds of thousands of Jewish lives are imminently at risk and need our intervention and support before it is too late! That’s why Shvut Ami needs your help today!
Shvut Ami’s wide range of Programs include:
- Ongoing support & training for over 70 Rabbis and teachers, some of whom live in the FSU and others who travel back and forth from Israel
- The life-changing “Jerusalem Fellows” Program that offers groups of students from the FSU a powerful and positive two-week Jewish experience in Israel. Participants explore their Jewish Heritage through a combination of fun & meaningful tours of the Country and inspiring classes & seminars
- Shvut Ami’s publishing house which has translated over 65 popular Jewish titles into the Russian language, including prayer books, bible commentaries, cookbooks and children’s stories. Over 250,000 books have been distributed at highly subsidized prices
- Financial assistance to newly married couples, helping them to pay for a modest wedding and some basic furniture & household items
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