Thursday, August 26, 2010

Young Jews in Russia Now Learning about Roots; Synagogues Have Clubs, Gyms, Libraries, etc.

Russia has a Jewish population of about one million people, according to the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia.

The organization's president, Alexander Boroda, said young Jews living in Russia know very little about Jewish traditions and culture, and they are just beginning to learn about their roots.

To bring Jews closer to their traditions, the Federation of Jewish Communities is building cultural and community centers instead of synagogues, with entertainment, educational, and sports centers -- in addition to the prayer room -- where young people may come in search of an interesting pastime and "move nearer to their roots," he said.

The first such center appeared in Maryina Roscha, which has -- besides a synagogue -- a gym, a restaurant, classes, internet rooms, and a library, Boroda said. He added, "It is a cross between a synagogue and a club, which is a very successful idea."

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