FIFTEENTH ANNIVERSARY OF MIGDAL JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER
The entire week before such an important event in the life of Migdal and its activists – 15th anniversary of the JCC – was very intensive and hard: rehearsals and preparations, favorite and new songs, dances and performances – all those activities involved each member of the large Migdal’s family, be it babies and parents from Migdal - Mazel Tov Center, participants of Migdal - Beitenu Center for Children at Risk, or friends of the Migdal - Shorashim Museum of History of Odessa Jews.
The JCC began in 1992 by offering Judaica studies to mostly school and University students, and has since expanded the number of its ongoing programs from 5 to 105. Through the diversity of its programming – such as School of Jewish Painting (quite famous in the city), Family and Students’ clubs, Shabbatons, children’s day camps and family summer retreats, choirs, dance and vocal groups, other numerous activities – Migdal has managed to reach out to all age groups, including young children, expectant mothers, and the elderly. Over 1,100 families are currently involved in JCC coordinated programs.
The day of 15th anniversary celebration – Sunday, February 4– came with its joy and anxiety. On that day, some 750 community members, including Odessans and those from Israel and Ukraine participated in the event, which took place in “Palladium” - one of the concert clubs of Odessa that is usually rented for the occasion. Special guests among whom there was Igor Patlazhan, JDC Executive Director for Odessa and Southern Ukraine, Alla Oshmyanskaya, Director of Israeli Cultural Center, Rada Yuger, JAFI representative, Rabbi Avroom Wolf, Chief Rabbi of Odessa and South Ukraine, and other invitees joined the celebration to share the happiness of the big community family.
All the vocal, dance and drama groups of Migdal, Teenagers’, Students and Parents clubs performed on the stage of “Palladium” demonstrating their achievements and talents. The fact that most of the actors were, on the one hand, participants of the groups and, on the other hand, leaders and art directors of other groups (like most students – members of the Students’ Club and simultaneously - leaders of dance and drama groups in Mazel Tov and Beitenu) proved that the JCC offers incredible opportunities for everyone to reveal his/her capabilities and realize inner potential.
The scenario of the celebration was based on a story from one of the most favorite movies called “Magicians”. The whole plot of the celebration had a meaning of magic of friendship between teachers and participants of the JCC programs, understanding, love and care, inspiration and aspiration for Jewish reconnection and tradition. Numerous miracles like performances by the youngest kids, congratulations from former JCC members from all across the globe, stories of success and involvement, happened on that day. Each new performance and actor on the stage was accompanied with a storm of applause and feeling of pride and belonging.
The concert program included new dances by major dancing groups of Migdal and Migdal-Or Jewish Community theatre, as well as a number of songs by the JCC’s choir and soloists – laureates of numerous Ukrainian, FSU and International festivals.
The holiday ended with kapustnik – a humorous performance, in which staff and participants of the JCC programs demonstrated their life in Migdal in a funny but thankful way.
Several days later – on February 8 – the youngest JCC programs’ participants – children of Mazel Tov – had a chance to enjoy their own, original celebration of Migdal’s anniversary in the Dolphin Show center. Not only did the kids enjoy the dolphins, but they also presented their own show. All together, 4 dance groups performed on the improvised stage, which was right at the edge of the pool with dolphins. The youngest actor was only 5 months old – it was the daughter of Dima and Alisa Melamud, the members of Migdal Jewish Student Club.
Two drama performances – one by the children depicting a brief story of Migdal’s establishment, and one – by their parents – capped of the celebration. In addition to that, as usual, there were sweets and numerous gifts.
SEVENTH YOUTH CONFERENCE
Seventh Yearly Conference for Youth was held by Migdal JCC in February 2007 and, as usual every year, it gathered young Jews from South and Central Ukraine including cities of Kiev, Odessa and Simferopol.
This time the Conference was focused on the theme “Keys to Success”, and raised various aspects of the notion beginning from ways of reaching personal success and up to the theoretical basis of success within the framework of Jewish values and traditions.
The three days of the event included a programmatic part - lectures, presentations, group discussions, role playing, etc., as well as Shabbat and Havdallah.
Practical assignments included master classes facilitated by Mazel Tov psychologist, reports by the young people and group discussions of these reports. The most interesting part of the Conference was presentation of each participant who shared personal experience where he/she had reached success. An informative and emotional part, it provided much food for thought for the participants and organizers of the Conference in terms of the current event, and future training and programs in Jewish renewal area targeted at Jewish youth.