Hillel gets $1M to reach Russian-speaking Jewish students


(JTA) — The Genesis Philanthropy Group has granted Hillel International $1 million to help the student organization reach out to Russian-speaking Jewish college students in North America, the former Soviet Union, Germany and Israel.

The grant will allow Hillel to offer expanded programming for the Russian-speaking Jewish college student population and to increase accessibility for students on campuses and in communities around the world, a statement from the two organizations said.

“All university-aged members of the Jewish community, no matter where they live, should be able to be a part of the global movement Hillel has created, a goal this partnership will facilitate,” said Ilia Salita, CEO of the Genesis Philanthropy Group. “An overwhelming majority of young Russian-speaking Jews attend institutions of higher academic learning. Involving them Jewishly during this formative time in their lives is integral to establishing early and enduring engagement for what amounts to one-fifth of the global Jewish student population.”

Plans for 2016 include launching several new initiatives in the United States and Canada, solidifying Hillel’s sustainability in the former Soviet Union during the current economic downturn, further expanding programmatic offerings for Russian-speaking Jewish students in Israel and expanding Hillel’s presence and outreach in Germany, according to the organizations.

“We are grateful for the support and partnership of Genesis Philanthropy Group in our effort to expand Hillel International’s mission within the Russian-speaking Jewish community,” said Eric Fingerhut, president and CEO of Hillel International.

Genesis Philanthropy Group is a private foundation launched by wealthy Jewish businessmen from the former Soviet Union whose mission is to develop and enhance a sense of Jewish identity among Russian-speaking Jews worldwide by supporting and launching projects, programming and institutions that are focused on ensuring that Jewish culture, heritage and values are preserved in Russian-speaking Jewish communities.

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