About Center Makor
For years Russian-Jewish immigrant families in greater Boston realized the existence of a tremendous need for quality Jewish educational and cultural programming. Young and elderly people alike believe that they are missing an integral part of their cultural heritage because there is no program solely dedicated to providing Jewish cultural and educational enrichment for them at a specific centralized community setting. With the upcoming closing of Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center in Brighton in December, this issue became even more pressing. In response to this need, several Boston area based Russian-Jewish community groups got together and after an extensive planning and community consultations process, created a Jewish Cultural and Educational Center “Makor”. The objective of this center is to stimulate and grow a strong Jewish identity through enthusiasm for the Jewish culture. Since Russian Jews are mostly unaffiliated with mainstream community institutions, this objective will be accomplished through their strong desire for cultural programming and need to educate their children about the traditions of their ancestors, building pride in their identity.
Expanding upon the success of the Russian Jewish Community School, which is geared primarily for young families, The Center will offer a plethora of new cultural opportunities and educational offerings affecting nearly every segment of the Russian-speaking community. The Center, operating out of the Temple B’nai Moshe in Brighton, is open every day of the week except Saturdays. It is anticipated that hundreds if not thousands of Russian-speaking Jews of all ages will frequent the facility each week.
The Center “Makor” acts as a community center providing free space and technical assistance with organizing cultural events to numerous local Russian-Jewish organizations that also participate in the development of programs for “Makor”. Those organizations previously were not able to secure a place of their own for cultural events and programming. They include: Joint Action Committee for Russian Jewish Community, Russian Community Association of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Association of Russian Jews “Chaveirim”, “Mishpuha” Club for Young Adults, Russian American Jews for Israel, Club of Russian Scientists, Dance Theatre “Faerlach”, Veteran’s Association, and the Young Adults Theatre “Krug”.
Despite their weak religious affiliation, Russian Jewish immigrants are deeply committed to bringing back the heritage they were conditioned to ignore and forget while in their homeland. Providing this cultural and educational outlet as a resource for the community will allow members to reeducate themselves and will help build a stronger Jewish community based on knowledge, practice, and action.
List of organizations, faculties, and groups at Center “Makor”
- Association of Jews from Former Soviet Union
- Association of Russian-speaking Veterans of WWII
- Boston Supports Israel
- Chess Club
- Club for Russian-speaking Young Adults “Mishpuha/EZRA”
- Jewish Movie Club
- Joint Action Committee for the Russian Jewish Community
- Massachusetts Association of former medical workers
- Massachusetts Association of Russian-speaking Jews "Chaverim"
- Massachusetts Club of Russian-speaking Scientists
- Outreach Program for Teens at Risks
- Russian Jewish Community School
- Russian Jewish Discussion Club
- Russian-American Jews for Israel
- Table Tennis Club
- Teenager’s Club “Dialog”
- Art Class
- Jewish Vocal Studio for Boys
- Bar/ Bat Mitzvah Tutoring
- Dance Studio for Women
- ESL for elderly
- Torah Studies for Adults (in Russian)
- Chorus "Mazel Tov"
- Children’s Muppet’s Theater
- Chamber Orchestra “Nigun”
- Klezmer Band “Mazel”
- Drama Theater "Krug"
- Drama Theatrical Studio "New Art Studio"
- Musical Ensemble “JazzMates”
- Music Theater "Firelech"
Cultural events and programs
- Annual Commemoration event “Babi Yar”
This event gathers 300-400 people from the Russian-speaking community (mostly older population) each year as a way to honor memories of those hundreds thousands Jews in Kiev (Ukraine) and all over the former Soviet Union, who were killed by the Nazis during the World War II. Event starts with the walk - “Steps of Memory” with lighted Yortzait Candles to Temple B’nai Moshe and continues at the Main Sanctuary with speeches following by commemorative performances of Jewish singers and musicians
- Annual Festival “Artistic Hanukkah”.
Last year, annual Festival “Artistic Hanukkah” went with great success for the 11th year in a row, showing that Hanukkah is a most popular Jewish Holiday in Russian-speaking community. Before the festivities start there is a traditional presentation of community awards to community volunteers. The most prestigious award - “Life-time Achievement Award” was named in honor of Norton Sherman.
- Boston Supports Israel.
An Annual fundraising event in support of State of Israel, which includes concert by Russian musicians, singers and dancers and art exhibition by Russian artists.
- Children’s Festival “Purim”
Children’s Festival “Purim” has become another popular event for Russian-speaking kids. Every year we have over 120 children from ages 2 to 13 who attended the festival. Since 2007 the Festival has a new important element: we inviting children as the only performers, who performes a wide array of acts (from “Purimshpil” by Russian Jewish Community School to dance as wolves or school anecdotes by Art Academy in Lynn).
- Lag B’Omer. May
This is a Barbeque party for Russian-speaking families with children, which include sport games and activities.
- Israel Independence Day Celebration for Russian-speaking Families.
This celebration is traditionally organized by Russian Jewish Community School in collaboration with Israel Aliyah Center, for the promotion of Israeli music, dance and art culture as well as Israeli cuisine.
- “Families to Families”
interactive Family Education program that includes visits of groups of families to Israel and to United States, active video bridges, workshops, seminars between Russian-speaking families from USA and Israel about adaptation to different cultures, expressing connection to Judaism, Jewish culture and communities in USA and Israel. Participants will learn out about similarities and differences between Russians Jews, as a cultural group on one side and American Jews and Israelis on other side.
- “The same roots, the same nation – the different cultures or what unites us and what divides us” - interactive program designed for people who have roots from Russia with participation of singers, actors, lectors, artists, etc. from Russian-speaking community. Basic goal of this program is to find understanding between Jewish people whose parents came to US a century ago and those who came here as a parents of future Jewish Americans.
- “Generation to Generation” - cultural program for children, parents, teenagers and young adults. Includes visits to tenants of JCHE, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, and other assisted living facilities with performances by children, teenagers or young adults conversations between representatives of different generations, interviews of aged people by children.
- Hanukkah Chess Tournament - this Tournament is a different type of approach to children, families, teenagers, young adults, and seniors to enjoy holyday of Jewish glory and light in attempt to compete for a special Cup of the Maccabees including lighting of Hanukkiah, latkes and cultural program.
- Israel Center – will combined different sources of information about the State Israel, distribute it to the Russian-speaking Jewish Community, as well as, will do presentations on different topics of Israeli life, science, education, Israeli government politics, culture, economic.
Will organize and develop all Israel related educational, informational and cultural programs.
This program will be conducted in collaboration with Consulate-General for Israel to New England and Israel Aliyah Center.
- Presentations of Jewish Day Schools Fare – goal of this fare is introduction and promotion of all types of Jewish Day Schools, their programs, belongings, styles of teaching in Massachusetts to broader Russian-speaking Jewish Community, especially by presentation of each participating school through their Russian-speaking students and their parents.
- Public Jewish Library – will accommodate books, tapes, CDs, computer files in Russian (mostly), English and Hebrew for public use.
- Art Gallery – through exhibitions on different topics will promote Russian-speaking Jewish Artists and support them, by giving them space for their works, who live in Massachusetts, New England and Israel, through Russian chapter of Boston-Haifa Connection.
- Israel, Torah, Judaism – Series of lectures based on 6 months period, which will introduce to people on beginners level major knowledge’s about Jewish history, ideology and life style.
- Who is the boss? – Goal of this program to involve Russian-speaking interfaith or intermarriage families in possibility to learn importance of equal shearing of culture, knowledge and traditions of both sides and how to introduce it to their children.
This letter attempts to summarize the extensive cultural programs offered by Russian Jewish Educational and Cultural Center “MAKOR”. We have been told at a number of conferences and seminars in recent years that Boston’s programs are very unique. Only the resources that we are able to generate limit us. Center “Makor” is taking upon itself the legacy of Programs for Russian-speaking Jews of the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts and Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center by creating a new cultural and educational enterprise for the Russian-speaking community.
To learn more about us please visit our web site www.centermakor.org
President of Center Makor