Russian Language Programs (2-4 Yrs)
Dear Generation Я Friend,
Last week, Rabbi Joy Levitt, chief executive officer of the JCC, sent you a letter with the bittersweet news that Generation Я is winding down at the end of June after fifteen extraordinary years. As the founder of Generation Я, I wanted to send a personal note of gratitude for your participation and inspiration in the community.
Programming for Russian-speaking Jews (RSJs) started in 2003 with a few one-off programs. Yet thanks to you—extraordinary artists, filmmakers, writers, Russian Jewish educators, playwrights, chess aficionados, authors, community leaders, and most importantly, program participants—Gen Я took on a life of its own and blossomed over many more years than ever planned. Our collaboration allowed you to celebrate your unique Russian Jewish background while also impacting hundreds of non-Russian speaking members in the larger JCC community.
It is in large part due to that success that the JCC is excited for you to more broadly share your Russian-Jewish-inflected backgrounds and talents with the larger community and partake in the JCC's existing robust programming. Below are a few examples I encourage you to consider, especially the film, part of the JCC's annual Israel Film Center Festival led by The Carole Zabar Center for Film's exceptional senior director, Isaac Zablocki. The film, Asia, features one of Gen Я's own—Gera Sandler, the legendary Russian-Jewish-Yiddish New York–residing actor.
There are way too many of you to thank, but I wanted to send a special shout-out to a few of Gen Я's longest supporting sponsors: Alex Berchansky, owner of Aaron's Gourmet Emporium, who catered the very first Shashlik in the Sukkah in 2003, before Gen R even existed, and has provided much of the delectable food for large Gen Я events ever since; Dave Katz, founder of Zyr Vodka, often provided the beverages; and a huge thank you to Genesis Philanthropy Group and Olga Markus, whose resources and unwavering support enabled Gen Я to thrive.
Finally, one of my greatest privileges as the Director of Gen Я has been to get to know you and to watch you evolve in the context of the JCC over the years. On a departing note, I wanted to share a fun tidbit: over the years, three couples who met at Gen Я events, married and had children. They have shared beautiful photos of their families with me. If there are others of you, please email me so we can celebrate you, too!
According to Jewish tradition, if you've made three shidakhs (matches), you go to heaven. Thank you for coming along with me for the ride!
With appreciation and admiration,
Director, Generation Я
P.S. The "Audrey Jccmanhattan" Facebook page, through which many of you have kept in touch, will be renamed "Audrey RSJ" and will continue to be used to communicate events of interest to the Russian-speaking Jewish community. If you wish to reach me personally, you can email me at email@example.com. Please stay in touch!