Aiding Europe’s Jewish Renaissance

Recently, Europe has been experiencing a second renaissance — a Jewish renaissance. Young people, even those who are intermarried or not considered Jewish by matrilineal descent or by upbringing, are reconnecting with their roots and their culture.

MiNYanim, a new Central and Eastern European social change incubator initiated and funded by UJA-Federation of New York through the Jewish Agency for Israel, is aiming to fuel this revival among young European Jews. The first 32 participants graduated this past September, and already some of them are making their ventures a reality.

Teaser: New incubator helps young European Jews create social change. Caption: Participants in the MiNYanim program congregate in Krakow, Poland. Participants in the MiNYanim program in Krakow, Poland. One of the first group, Klaudia Klimek from Poland, didn’t know she was Jewish until she turned 13. When her grandmother passed away, her father discovered that his mother had been born with a Jewish name. She described this as a common experience among Polish Jews her age.

Taking Nothing For Granted

Klimek was part of a select group of young Polish Jews that met with one another monthly and met quarterly with similar groups from Hungary and Bulgaria. One commonality Klimek notes about her fellow participants is that “most of us were not brought up in a Jewish environment. Everything we know, we had to learn,” she says. “We do not take anything for granted.”

Nancy Amiel, chair of UJA-Federation’s Global Jewish Connections Task Force, met with the participants of the program and she says, “It was an inspiring and even emotional experience for me to see their intense curiosity about all things Jewish.”

Over the course of the program, the MiNYanim participants got to know one another, learned from guest speakers, and had festive Shabbat potlucks. The program focuses on leadership training and capacity building, in order to help each of the participants channel their energy into developing and executing projects that can give something back to the community.

For her project, Klimek is developing a journalistic project called Jewrnalism, an effort to dispel stereotypes about European Jewry by working with American Jewish media outlets to distribute reporting about Jewish life across the Atlantic.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Aiding Europe’s Jewish Renaissance

Recently, Europe has been experiencing a second renaissance — a Jewish renaissance. Young people, even those who are intermarried or not considered Jewish by matrilineal descent or by upbringing, are reconnecting with their roots and their culture.

MiNYanim, a new Central and Eastern European social change incubator initiated and funded by UJA-Federation of New York through the Jewish Agency for Israel, is aiming to fuel this revival among young European Jews. The first 32 participants graduated this past September, and already some of them are making their ventures a reality.

Teaser: New incubator helps young European Jews create social change. Caption: Participants in the MiNYanim program congregate in Krakow, Poland. Participants in the MiNYanim program in Krakow, Poland. One of the first group, Klaudia Klimek from Poland, didn’t know she was Jewish until she turned 13. When her grandmother passed away, her father discovered that his mother had been born with a Jewish name. She described this as a common experience among Polish Jews her age.

Taking Nothing For Granted

Klimek was part of a select group of young Polish Jews that met with one another monthly and met quarterly with similar groups from Hungary and Bulgaria. One commonality Klimek notes about her fellow participants is that “most of us were not brought up in a Jewish environment. Everything we know, we had to learn,” she says. “We do not take anything for granted.”

Nancy Amiel, chair of UJA-Federation’s Global Jewish Connections Task Force, met with the participants of the program and she says, “It was an inspiring and even emotional experience for me to see their intense curiosity about all things Jewish.”

Over the course of the program, the MiNYanim participants got to know one another, learned from guest speakers, and had festive Shabbat potlucks. The program focuses on leadership training and capacity building, in order to help each of the participants channel their energy into developing and executing projects that can give something back to the community.

For her project, Klimek is developing a journalistic project called Jewrnalism, an effort to dispel stereotypes about European Jewry by working with American Jewish media outlets to distribute reporting about Jewish life across the Atlantic.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.