Press Releases

JDC Summer Retreats Rekindle Jewish Life in Europe, Former Soviet Union


Michael Geller / JDC Telephone: (212) 885-0838

Jamie Epstein / JDC Telephone: (212) 885-0849

For Immediate Release

Looking at 7-year old “Paula,” whose happy eyes glow as she sings one of the new Hebrew songs she recently learned, one would never guess she is the first member of her family in 70 years to be born with the choice to openly practice Judaism. The great-granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, whose grandparents and parents lived with Communist and post-communist taboos on Jewish identity in Poland, she is grasping Jewish life with both hands, dancing and creating beautiful Jewish-themed art, at one of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s (JDC) family retreats this summer. More than 60 JDC-sponsored retreats throughout Europe and the former Soviet Union are providing summer excursions focused on Jewish learning and outdoor adventures.

“By tapping into the unquenchable thirst for Jewish knowledge and celebration in parts of the world where Jewish life was almost lost to the horrors of Nazism and to Communism, we are contributing to a new generation of Jewish leaders. Our summer retreats provide life-changing opportunities for children and their families to reconnect with their Jewish culture and identity,” said JDC CEO Steven Schwager.

At JDC summer retreats, programs for toddlers to teenagers and their families combine Jewish education with art, drama, English language studies, computers, sports, dancing and music. Children from the full spectrum of Jewish affiliation, from large cities and remote villages, experience a renewed commitment to their Jewish heritage.

JDC summer programs are based in Europe in Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and the Balkans. Across the former Soviet Union, retreats take place in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

Among retreats in the former Soviet Union, JDC’s partnership with the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, led by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, ensures that children, youth, and families at risk or those who are economically disadvantaged receive a summer camp experience. The IFCJ-JDC Partnership for Children in the FSU is responsible for year-round welfare and relief programs for more than 27,000 Jewish children at risk in the region.

About JDC

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization. JDC works in more than 70 countries and in Israel to alleviate hunger and hardship, rescue Jews in danger, create lasting connections to Jewish life, and provide immediate relief and long-term development support for victims of natural and man-made disasters.

For more information, please visit www.JDC.org.

Subscribe to our RSS feed: Press Releases

An error occurred during your login.


JDC, Cookies, and Your Privacy

Cookies are small pieces of information sent by our web server for storage on your computer, to be retrieved when you return to this site. We use cookies to allow you faster, more convenient access, and to prevent you from being required to log in on every page of our sites.

For more information on JDC’s use of cookies, read our Privacy Policy.


An Error Occurred


Logging In With One of Your Social Web Site Logins

Instead of trying to remember a bunch of special username/password combinations to log in to different web sites that you visit, you can now link your account on this web site to your account on one (or more) of the social media web sites shown and log in with the same username/password combination that you use on that social web site to log in to our site.

To provide this connection in a secure manner, we use Gigya, a social network connection provider that works behind the scenes to make safe, secure connections between user accounts on different systems, such as popular social media web sites like Facebook and web sites like ours where you are actively involved in social issues and causes.

Each time you log in, Gigya uses special application programming interfaces (APIs) to establish the connection between the sites and validate your username and password. Neither our web site or Gigya receive or store your social network passwords.

In addition to reducing the number of logins you have to remember, connecting your accounts can make it quicker and easier to share an activity or cause you feel passionately about from our web site with your friends on your social web sites.

You can break the connection between your accounts at any time.