Locals travel to Russia on National Young Leadership mission

May 3, 2019

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Andrew Nusbaum and Eric Miller at the World ORT de Gunberg Secondary School in St. Petersburg.

Andrew Nusbaum and Eric Miller at the World ORT de Gunberg Secondary School in St. Petersburg.

Andrew Nusbaum and Eric Miller departed Norfolk on March 31 to attend their first study mission with the National Young Leadership Cabinet in Russia.

The National Young Leadership Cabinet, an elite leadership-training program of the Jewish Federations of North America, educates and connects the next generation of global Jewish leaders and philanthropists, ages 30–45. Cabinet members participate in study missions to experience Jewish life abroad, as well as to interact with people who have been impacted by Federation.

“The purpose of this trip was to connect with other like-minded Jewish leaders from around North America and travel together to see the impact of the Federation dollars we raise in Russia and Georgia,” says Nusbaum.

While in Russia, Miller and Nusbaum explored the Jewish community in St. Petersburg, visiting the ORT de Gunzberg Secondary School—known for its language’s curriculum (English and Hebrew), Jewish education, STEM, and IT programs. They also visited the YESOD Jewish Community Center, the first major Jewish construction project in St. Petersburg in nearly 100 years.

“YESOD, Hebrew for foundation, serves as the hub of Jewish communal life,” says Miller. “Thousands of Russian Jews are touched by the services and programs offered through the YESOD, such as Hebrew classes, drama clubs, and help for high school students to attend the International BBYO Conference.”

Miller and Nusbaum also traveled to Georgia, where they saw how Federation helps vulnerable populations.

“While in Tbilisi, Georgia, we visited homes of people who, through the JDC, are provided food, medical assistance, home repairs, and other necessities, as well as the opportunity to participate in Jewish life through activities at their daycare center,” says Miller.

“One of the women we had the privilege of meeting was 63 and had been living in her one-bedroom unit for several decades,” says Nusbaum. “She would not have enough income to live off of if not for support the Federation provides.”

“Mission trips like this are truly amazing,” says Miller. “Not only are you able to see the positive impacts you are helping to make on those in need, you are able to interact with those people and hear their stories.”

Thomas Mills

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