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Grants in North America

Russian-Speaking Jewish Community Engagement Project in Toronto

Russian-Speaking Jewish Community Engagement Project in Toronto

The mission of the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto is to preserve and strengthen the quality of Jewish life in Greater Toronto, Canada, Israel, and around the world through philanthropic, volunteer, and professional leadership.

Starting in 2009, Genesis Philanthropy Group has partnered with the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto to provide support to various components of the Russian-Speaking Jewish Community Engagement Project in Toronto, which currently include:

  • J. Projects, a set of programs focused on engaging Russian-speaking Jewish community of Greater Toronto area, including children, young adults, and families.
    • Mini-grant Fellowship is a platform for RSJ grassroots initiatives, which engages new cohorts, through the customized projects developed and implemented by community activists of diverse ages and demographics.
    • Dobroe Utro, Malyshi is a culturally specific, 90-minute long Sunday morning program, where Russian-speaking children, ages three to five, are exposed to Jewish folk tales, accompanied by a puppet actor in Russian.
    • “Switch On” is a program, which engages young Russian-speaking young families with monthly events that include community gatherings, network events, Shabbat dinners and holiday celebrations at Schwartz/Reisman Jewish Community Centre (SRJCC).
    • Jewish and Modern (JAM) is a not-for-profit group with a vision of connecting and enriching the Jewish community experience for RSJ young professionals ages 22 to 35 through social events and educational initiatives. The founders are young professional volunteers, dedicated to creating an open environment that encourages people at all levels to explore their Jewish identity role within the community.
    • Back to the Future is an 18-month initiative for young adults, ages 22 through 28, that aims to explore the participants’ individual and family Jewish journeys, tracing it from their present lives in North America to their past in the Pale of Settlement of the Russian Empire. The program includes a Heritage trip to the Baltics, as well as pre- and post-programming sessions. At the end of the program, each participant will develop a project which will benefit the community.
    • Theater Club is a program led by a professional theater educator, which exposes students to skills, such as active listening, collaborative creation, improvisation and more. The year-round program will culminate in a Russian children’s play translated into English.
    • Community Wide Events are organized to celebrate Israeli and Jewish holidays, art exhibition and historically important occasions.

  • Hillel Jewski - Russian Jewish Programming at Hillel of Greater Toronto, a program that focuses on identity building, discussions and exposure to cultural Judaism for Russian-speaking Jewish university students. It includes Lunch and Learn events, Shabbat dinners, holiday celebrations, pot luck lunches, and more. The program will include “Jewski Shabbaton” that will bring together students for a weekend of joint learning, discovering Jewish journeys and exploring volunteering/networking opportunities in J.Projects and the general Jewish Toronto community.

In addition, a new initiative is developed to pair graduating students with young professionals, based on students’ career aspiration, which allows the young professionals to get involved and give back to the community through mentorship and relationship building.

Financial support for these programs is provided by Genesis Philanthropy Group in partnership with the UJA Federation of Toronto and the Jewish Agency for Israel, as well as other donors.

Goals and Objectives

  • Support engagement of Russian-speaking Jews in the mainstream Jewish community of Toronto and open a dialogue between the two communities.
  • Provide the Russian-speaking community of Greater Toronto with welcoming and impactful Jewish educational experiences.
  • Develop new programming and support existing cultural programs that aim to enhance the Jewish identity of Russian-speaking Jews.
  • Develop a cohort of future leaders of the Russian-speaking Jewish community in Toronto.


Current Grants

Past Grants