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Camps getting $4.8 million to enroll Russian speakers

NEW YORK (JTA) — A group of philanthropists from the former Soviet Union will give $4.8 million to enroll Russian-speaking children in American overnight summer camps.

The five-year partnership between the Genesis Philanthropy Group and the Foundation for Jewish Camp is to implement a multi-pronged plan that includes specialized recruitment for Russian-speaking Jews, an initiative to help FJC camps create a targeted curriculum for Russian speakers and partnerships with a program that runs exclusively Russian-speaking camps.

“Research in the U.S., combined with on-the-ground experience in the former Soviet Union, indicates that Jewish summer camp can be a transformative and engaging Jewish experience for Russian-speaking Jewish children and youth much as it has been for decades for North American Jewish children,” said Jerry Silverman, the CEO of the Foundation for Jewish Camp.

The FJC plans on sending some 2,000 children to camp over the next five years through the program. It estimates that there are some 50,000 Russian speaking camp-aged Jews in North America.

“Genesis Philanthropy Group is committed to ensuring that Jewish culture, heritage and values are preserved among Russian-speaking Jews worldwide,” said Stan Polovets, the CEO and board member of Genesis.

Launched in 2007 by five Russian businessmen, Genesis in the past 18 months has provided more than 30 grants to Israeli, American and FSU programs totaling more than $10 million.  

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