03/03/2017

Building Jewish Life in St. Petersburg

Tags: Federation, Overseas, Leadership

  • Share This Story

Stories like these are made possible by your generosity to the Campaign for Jewish Needs. Join us as we aspire to leave no community member behind in Cleveland, Israel, and 70 Countries around the globe. Donate today.

For more than 20 years, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland has been a partner in helping to build Jewish life in St. Petersburg, Russia, Cleveland’s sister city. Federation’s Overseas Connections Committee (OCC) recently hosted a Capacity Building delegation with all of the directors and associate directors of every major Jewish organization in St. Petersburg.

“An integral part of our Federation’s work in St. Petersburg is helping the local Jewish community learn how to become a self-sustaining community that makes decisions and sets priorities together,” said Ilanit Gerblich Kalir, Managing Director of International Operations at the Federation. “We designed the Capacity Building program four years ago, along with the Jewish Agency, the American Joint Distribution Committee and the Russian Jewish Congress to train those working in the Jewish community about lay leadership, collaboration, consensus building, and community priority setting.”

“We are doing on-the-ground work with our partners to make their Jewish community thrive and flourish,” said Barry Feldman, Chair of the Federation’s St. Petersburg Subcommittee. “It makes me feel accomplished as an individual, as well as a community for taking ownership and responsibility of our Jewish brothers and sisters around the world.”

More than fifty of Cleveland Jewish community's top professionals and lay leaders shared information and inspiration on topics ranging from structure and leadership to services and needs to financial stability. “They are doing sacred work. They are rebuilding Jewish life and re-creating a Jewish community, it’s a difficult task with few parallels,” said Kalir. “One of the advantages of the Capacity Building program is allowing the directors space to think and to collaborate with local Jewish leaders here in Cleveland.”

Jeanne Tobin, a board member of Federation’s St. Petersburg Subcommittee, had the opportunity to spend time with the Russian delegation. She was inspired by their passion to build and continue the Jewish spirit in their community. “These folks are pioneers; they had to start from the bottom. They had to adopt the values and pass them on to the next generation. They had to create the infrastructure for the organizations and then keep them alive. I'm so impressed by what they've done. It's given me courage to do what we're doing, not just with them, but with ourselves.”

For more information on St. Petersburg, Russia and the Overseas Connections Committee, contact Ilanit Gerblich Kalir at ikalir@jcfcleve.org or 216-593-2815.

The St. Petersburg Capacity Building Delegation is part of a strategic partnership between the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), Jewish Agency for Israel, the Russian Jewish Congress and the Jewish Federation of Cleveland.

Stories like these are made possible by your generosity to the Campaign for Jewish Needs. Join us as we aspire to leave no community member behind in Cleveland, Israel, and 70 Countries around the globe. Donate today.


Related Items

Our Sister City, St. Petersburg

Learn more

A Visit to our Sister City of St. Petersburg, Russia

Learn more

Jewish Camp in FSU

Learn more

Learn More: Federation, Overseas, Leadership

Comments