"Mitsva" Association
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Seminar for Community Employees, March 13-14, 2001

  Rabbi Meir Schlezinger is reading lecture.  Mr.Wiesel, regional coordinator in Kazakhstan and Middle Asia is on the left
Rabbi Meir Schlezinger is reading lecture. Mr.Wiesel, regional coordinator in Kazakhstan and Middle Asia is on the left

  The representatives of Jewish Diaspora came to the hotel "Karagalinskiy" in early warm spring this year.

  The seminar lasted for only 2 days that is why everybody should work very hard. Students had classes even in the evenings.
Rabbi Meir Schlezinger from Israel read really interesting and useful lectures. Rafi Rone, JDC probationer from the USA told the participants of the seminar about work of the US Jewish Community. Natalya Rynkovskaya read wonderful lectures on verbal Torah. Yevgeniya Karyakina, coordinator of Library Program presented new books and told about library management in Community libraries. The Information section of "Mitsva" Association told about how computers can help in Hesed's' work.

  All JDC and "Mitsva" Association training seminars organizers try to make theory closer to practice, try to explain the importance of communities, Heseds and Cultural Centers for Jewish Diaspora. They try to teach them the tradition of celebrating Jewish holidays, present famous people from Israel and analyze the experience of social work.

  The seminar has finished. And everybody took a piece of this warm meeting with him and a piece of Jewish soul.

Yelena UdaltsovaYelena Udaltsova, Director of the Shymkent JCC
- What was new at the seminar for you?
- Now I know more about Pesach and, naturally, will tell about it in my Community. I have the exact idea about this holiday now. Here, at the seminar I got more information than I can get from books. The other important thing for me is a possibility to exchange work experience with the people working in the same field in other cities. And even I don't know how to do some things, I know that somebody has an experience in building a program and I should not start from scratch, I can use this experience.
- What can you wish to the organizers of the seminar?
- I wish I could have more printed information about traditions in celebrating national holidays. I cannot stay in vacuum. We hope we'll receive new guides on different programs and we will be able to improve our work.

Yefim GuretskiyYefim Guretskiy, Director of Petropavlovsk "Hesed Efraim"
 - What are your plans for the future work?
- I believe we need to open new programs, and I consider it as a priority. Aside of opening new programs, we need to improve service in existing programs. We did not know, did not see many things because we were separated from Jewish traditions. Many of us start it from scratch. Our elderly clients, pensioners and disabled consider it as a good sign, as a gleam of hope. We understand it and want to help them.
As for the seminar, we would like to know topics of seminar beforehand to be prepared for them, to prepare some questions. It is very important deep understanding of given information.

Larissa PlinerLarissa Pliner, Director of Pavlodar JCC
- You impressions about the seminar?
- I have been to seminars like that many times, and often their organization was not very good. And I would like to say that the organization of this seminar was pretty good, its atmosphere was very warm and friendly. For me it is a chance to meet interesting people like Meyer Schlezinger. He is wide-educated, very friendly and kind person. I was very impressed with lectures on Torah of Natalya Rynkovskaya, she is a very talented teacher.
- How do you keep in touch with your colleagues in other regions?
- It is very expensive to go there or even to talk to them on the phone, that is why it is easier to contact them during seminars, and we can compare our work, exchange news and useful information.
- What knowledge would you like to get next time?
- There are no less or more important themes in Judaism - they all are very important. The grounding in Judaism of the students is not very high, that is why any information is high importance. I am very interested in life and death in Judaism, and also I would like to go to classes on Solomon's parables. Some things in Judaism are little discoveries, little gifts, some of them are familiar, and we can get a new sight on it. I wish everybody love, it is the most important thing - to love our neighbors.

Photo by Miroslav Gatsenko
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