Across 9 Timezones in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, and Israel.
THE NEED IN RUSSIA AND SURROUNDING AREAS
The Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990s, ending an era of institutionalized anti-Semitism and more than seventy years of repression of the Jewish community. Almost 30 years later, the emerging Jewish community continues to face many challenges. With an estimated 500,000 - 2 million Jews remaining in the region, building strong Jewish identity and developing communal leadership is essential to the future of Jewish life in the region. By working in partnership with Jews from other parts of the world, Jews in this region reclaim their Jewish identities. They are inspired to embrace the Jewish values necessary to surviving and thriving long-term.
WHY FOCUS ON WOMEN?
No other Jewish organization focuses exclusively on women and girls in the region. Project Kesher's highly sophisticated leadership training program provides skills development with Jewish content to this under-served sector. Our trained activists are often the only ones to focus attention on women’s issues, such as domestic violence and human trafficking.
Our efforts have helped to ensure a strong female Jewish voice on key issues in secular communities in the region and a strong women’s voice in the Jewish community.
Women power our programs, and their families and communities benefit.
THE NEED IN ISRAEL
Our expansion into Israel was in response to the need for a Project Kesher-type program for that country’s Russian speaking population.
When 850,000 Russian-speaking immigrants, 300,000 of them women between the ages of 20 and 55, made aliyah in 1989, it was a cause for celebration in Israel. But the reality of life in Israel for many did not live up to their expectations. Although often highly educated, they faced occupational, social and economic downgrading, were forced into menial service jobs and to the bottom of the social structure, and faced a humiliating loss of their personal identity.
It is estimated that one out of every six Jewish women in Israel today are Russian-speakers, many still struggling to assimilate into Israeli society, learn the language, earn a living and avoid feelings of social isolation.
Project Kesher-Israel, with its cost-effective, grass-roots model, is uniquely positioned to effect change in Israel by empowering Russian-speaking women to be leaders and activists. These women can reach deeply into the community, build Jewish identity, and influence change on key issues.
PROJECT KESHER IN THE UNITED STATES
Project Kesher in the US raises funds to support the work throughout our network and helps our sister organizations increase their own fundraising capacity. Project Kesher offers trips to meet activists trained with our support, as well as educational programs in the US to encourage funders to include our work in their portfolios. In addition, Project Kesher seeks US activists for our Board and with skills to advance our mission.
Project Kesher Cities