New Lehava Initiatives In St. Petersburg Spotlight Jewish Innovation

Lehava participants gather on June 20 in St. Petersburg to present their projects.
Lehava participants gather on June 20 in St. Petersburg to present their projects. photo: Courtesy of Yulia Lidis

For the past nine months, more than 20 young adults from St. Petersburg used JDC’s Lehava young leadership program to develop leadership skills and learn important project management strategies to help implement important change in the Jewish community. The program was run in partnership with PresenTense, an entrepreneurship model that trains committed individuals to create high-impact projects fostering innovation in the Jewish community.

On the night of June 20, they presented their community initiatives, the culmination of weekly meetings, seminars, and a study trip to the United States.

Among the 15 projects: Anna Velichko’s training course for kids in religious Jewish schools designed to help them pass state exams; Valeria Povergo’s bakery offering jobs to people with Down syndrome; and Yuliana Belova and Dima Tsirulnikov’s fashion show for people with disabilities, featuring young local designers. The event will also feature workshops for designers looking to learn how to create special clothes for people with disabilities.

“Everything went very well. We had fun and it was very useful at the same time. It was a quality evening,” Belova said. “We established several important contacts – one well-known local businessman even suggested us to join Aurora fashion week, which is huge here!”

Also featured was, a new initiative designed to promote volunteerism and inform young people about volunteer vacancies and various NGOs and charity organizations.

The St. Petersburg community is very supportive of the Lehava projects, with most of the participants leaning on business people and community members as mentors, coaches, lecturers, and advisers.

The Lehava leadership development program is one of JDC’s many Jewish renewal activities supported by the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County and the Jewish Federation of Cleveland.




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