Finding Love at Baltics Jewish Summer Camp

October 14, 2015


They met at JDC’s Olameinu Jewish summer camp in the Baltics – Juliana from Tallinn Estonia and Efim from Vilnius Lithuania.

Campers in the same group back in summer 2009 they grew to become fast friends. Last summer the couple both 21 found themselves back at Olameinu this time as coordinators.

”That’s where the magic happened Juliana said. ”We started dating.”

So when it came time for the couple to tie the knot they could think of no better place than Olameinu itself.

”We both have been part of Jewish camps and programming in the Baltics for many years. This is where we’ve learned so much about ourselves and about the history and traditions of our people Efim said. ”As a result having the chuppah here and living a Jewish life together as a family was a natural decision that we never questioned.”

Olameinu — “Our World” in Hebrew — attracts hundreds of children and teens from Latvia Lithuania and Estonia over several sessions every year. It includes Jewish cultural and history programs Israeli dance and song workshops sports tournaments and much more.

The camp is a signature event for the regions’ small Jewish communities; Latvia is estimated to have about 14 000 Jews with Lithuania at about 7 000 and Estonia at about 4 000.

“The fact that Juliana and Efim chose to get married at a Baltics Jewish event speaks volumes about the impact and success of the work JDC does in the region ” said Martin Levi a program coordinator for JDC in Europe. “Jewish identity and being part of the Jewish community is very important to them. The story of how they met and where they chose to get married reflects the deeper aspects of what we do here and around the world.”

Though Juliana and Efim said they were nervous to stand under the chuppah and begin their lives as husband and wife they couldn’t have picked a better place for their wedding than the camp that brought them together.

“It was very important for us to celebrate this moment in our lives with our Jewish friends ” Juliana said. “After the wedding we finally had time to take a deep breath and see what was happening at camp. It really warmed our hearts to see so many Jewish couples around us.”

The Olameinu Summer Camp is generously supported by The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and other funders of JDC’s Jewish renewal programs in the Baltics.

JDC’s global programs are made possible by the generosity of our'' style=''color: #4780af; font-weight: bold;''>supporters.

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