Our History 

Project Kesher has breathed new life into me... I thought I forgot how to smile. It turns out, I can.
— Irina, from Horlivka (Eastern) Ukraine, Project Kesher Shabbaton participant
 
 
Pictured, Left to Right: Sallie Gratch and Svetlana Yakimenko, 1990s.

Pictured, Left to Right: Sallie Gratch and Svetlana Yakimenko, 1990s.

In 1989…

Sallie Gratch, a social worker from Illinois, met Svetlana Yakimenko, a teacher in Moscow. Together, the two Jewish women traveled throughout Russia and Ukraine, speaking with Jewish women determined to stay, despite historic oppression and the depth of need in their communities. The two activists discovered Jewish women living next door to one another, without knowledge about their connection and shared heritage. As these women began to gather, to share in the re-emergence of Jewish life post-Communism and learn about civic engagement, Project Kesher was born.

 
 
 

Today…

 
Pictured, Left to Right: Sallie Gratch and Svetlana Yakimenko, at the 30th Anniversary of Believing in Women, 2019.

Pictured, Left to Right: Sallie Gratch and Svetlana Yakimenko, at the 30th Anniversary of Believing in Women, 2019.

Project Kesher (PK) supports grassroots organizations in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, and Israel, as they develop leadership to advocate for Jewish identity and renewal,  economic self-sufficiency, and women’s health.