Song and Learning Bring Together Jews in Belarus

Motl Gordon, Director of the Eitan Educational Center at the Yesod JCC in St. Petersburg, Russia, hosts a Hevruta session in Minsk, Belarus, on Yiddish song.
Motl Gordon, Director of the Eitan Educational Center at the Yesod JCC in St. Petersburg, Russia, hosts a Hevruta session in Minsk, Belarus, on Yiddish song.

What’s the sound of 300 Belarusian Jews singing a Yiddish song? The participants of the recent JDC-supported 4th Minsk Havruta found out firsthand when they showed up for a study session with fluent Yiddish speaker and informal education specialist Motl Gordon.

A Havruta is a social, interactive form of Jewish learning—basically, an opportunity for people to come together and teach one another about an interesting Jewish topic. It doesn’t have to be text-based, it doesn’t rely on any previous knowledge, and there aren’t any strict format rules for the seminars. Instead, it’s an opportunity to explore new ideas, debate, dance, and sing with new people who turn out to be interested in the same Jewish things you are.

In Minsk, Belarus, that’s something pretty special. And that’s why 300 Belarusian Jews of all ages came out for this year’s event, which featured 16 guest speakers from Minsk, Odessa, Moscow, and St. Petersburg teaching a broad variety of Jewish topics in 20 locations throughout Minsk.

The event was made possible by the invaluable help of volunteers from every institution of Jewish life in Belarus. Today, that includes Hesed welfare centers, Jewish Family Service (JFOS), the Emuna Jewish Community Center, and Hillel. Kudos to all on this enormously successful event!

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