16 June 2009

Yad Vashem: $4mill for Russian Holocaust education

Yad Vashem has launched a comprehensive new program to raise awareness and knowledge of the Holocaust among Russian speakers.

The program is funded by a four-year, $4 million grant from the Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG), a foundation dedicated to promoting Jewish identity for Russian-speaking Jews around the world.

The program includes inter-disciplinary projects in formal and informal education, research and publications, archival documentation, Internet outreach, exhibitions organization, and Righteous Among the Nations from the areas of the FSU.
“The efforts to encourage meaningful education and commemoration of the Holocaust among Russian speakers are crucial, since the Holocaust is an important building block of Jewish identity, and a historical event that continues to reverberate among young people today,” said Avner Shalev, Chairman of Yad Vashem. “Unfortunately due to the historical circumstances, the study of the Holocaust in the areas of the Former Soviet Union has been underdeveloped over the years. The grant from Genesis will allow us to focus more intensively on this critical aspect of Holocaust education.”
Stan Polovets, CEO/co-founder of GPG, said “This tragedy with all the attached sorrow gives a deeper insight into Jewish history, teaches us about the wider perspective of Judaism, helping to strengthen Jewish identity among the Russian-speaking Jews and the sense of belonging to the Jewish people”.

About GPG:

The mission of Genesis Philanthropy Group is to develop and enhance Jewish identity among Russian-speaking Jews worldwide, with a particular emphasis on the former Soviet Union, North America, and Israel. GPG is committed to supporting and launching projects, programming, and institutions that are focused on ensuring that Jewish culture, heritage, and values are preserved in Russian-speaking Jewish communities across the globe. The foundation was established in the summer of 2007 by Mikhail Fridman, German Khan, Pyotr Aven, Alex Knaster, and Stan Polovets. In the past two years, GPG has made over 30 grants, which included gifts to organizations such as Birthright Israel, Moscow State University, the IDF Education Department, Limmud, Maccabi, and the New York Jewish Museum. Its most recent grants include $4.4 million to The Foundation for Jewish Camp and $10.9 million to Brandeis University.
Each year, Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies will focus on two Israeli cities with large Russian-speaking populations. Through seminars for educators and students, activities in community centers, and working with Holocaust survivors and World War II veterans, Holocaust education will be intensified.

There will also be more development and maintenance of the Russian-language online interactive portal, including documents, images, educational units and the interactive program “Children in the Ghetto”.

A special chair, within the International Institute for Holocaust Research at Yad Vashem, will dedicated to advancing research of the Holocaust in the Former Soviet Union.

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