Migdal JCC, Mazel Tov and Beitenu Centers
Family Retreat "Halom-10"
A long-standing tradition to hold family camps for community members with the utmost involvement in the Jewish life has been continued this year. The tenth in the row, it was run on August 20-27, 2006 and embraced some 160 young people, children and their parents.
As always, the camp began with a preliminary three-day seminar for madrichim and Migdal's educators. In order to meet the participants and make the camp a success, everything - decorations for the premises and classes, materials for sessions and prizes for contests - was thoroughly prepared and worked out. "Migdal" staff faced quite a complicated and empowering task - to build and carry out the 10th camp's program through up-to-date methods and explore rich Jewish culture and traditions through the most creative ways and widest range of activities.
The general retreat's theme was "Jewish Vision" - views on Jewish life and Jewish people. Each day of the camp was devoted to a definite theme and totally there were seven of them: "Music", "Childhood", "Love", "Rest", "Health and Sports", "Keyhole" and "Birthday". One of the camp's features is that this year an emphasis was made on the development of children's self-dependence. For example, on the second day devoted to "Childhood", all adults switched their roles with their children, enabling them to feel parental responsibility (to take their "kids" to lessons in time, decide whether to praise or how to punish, etc.). These tools are considered to be effective for prevention of conflict situations in the family and development of mutual understanding.
Every day, in the framework of regular classes focused on Jewish themes (arts and crafts, dance, music and drawing, etc.), madrich-times, Kabbalat Shabbat and intellectual games Quest there were various tasks developing keenness of wit and sense of humor. In general, "Halom-10" devoted to the kids has received the name of the children's camp! This year, for the first time, a special "baby's detachment" was formed and even the smallest ones, aged 6-8 months old, were encouraged to take part in the camp events.
Migdal's Club of Jewish students has also become distinguished by organizing evening events, intellectual and humorous games. The students' care and attention to "Halom" kids won parent's favor.
"Halom-10" blew out its multicolored lights, but the sparkles that remained in the eyes of all camp participants will further ignite interest and vitality. Migdal staff, children and young people came back to their native center enriched with fresh knowledge and inspired for further work and communication.
6th Anniversary of Migdal's Club of Jewish Students
The club of Jewish Students celebrated the 6th anniversary of its activities. Born under the roof of Migdal JCC, the club has already become a strong catalyst for Jewish life of Odessa youth. Young people become involved in the club in order to reconnect with their Jewish roots, learn Jewish Tradition, history, culture and literature, as well as to solve their own problems and have a good time. The club of Jewish students helps young people find out answers to the vital questions. A series of lectures on different topics, which the students choose themselves are regularly delivered at so called Sunday Complex of studies. Obtaining good knowledge in the Center, the students are also involved in Migdal's work and actively participate in other JCC programs in the roles of madrichim, e.g. in children's day camps and family retreats.
Much has been done by the students for this year "Halom-10" family camp. They beard responsibility for technical equipment in the camp, music with colors, playground's lights, sound and technical work. A grand farewell salute that left unforgettable impression for all camp participants was also prepared and fired by the students.
The students also run their separate projects among which there is chess club, Migdal's web-site, etc. Today they are the core of volunteerism of Migdal JCC. Any JCC's event - a festival or concert, a conference or holiday - can hardly ever be imagined without the students' participation.
- Mazel Tov center has already moved to a new two-storied apartment and celebrated the beginning of a new school year. Owing to the advertising process widely spread throughout the city and region, the number of all those who wish to join Mazel Tov program has considerably increased. The beginning of this year was marked with intensive involvement of new kids. Currently the number of Mazel Tov participants constitutes over 170 families.
- Family retreat "Halom-10" implemented by Migdal JCC has become this year a pilot program for Mazel Tov families with small babies. As the camp has been devoted to the children, it is marked with more active participation of Mazel Tov kids. A special smallest group of toddlers, aged 6-8 months old, has joined the camp events and become a real "decoration" of the retreat.
- The curriculum of Mazel Tov program has been replenished with new subjects. These are compute classes for all ages and English even for the smallest babies, who are 2 months old. The number of Mazel Tov dance groups has grown up to 4 and all kids are now involved in uneasy dancing work.
- Special classes for pregnant women have become very popular in Migdal JCC. Till November 2006, the center along with Mazel Tov program is expecting to have 13 new born participants. Now their mothers are actively trained by a professional psychologist in order to be well- prepared, physically and emotionally.
After summer vocation in July, Shorashim resumed its regular research and educational activities.
- As usual, the Museum continued its activities offering tours and excursions to Jewish and non-Jewish organizations from Odessa and abroad. Small groups of self-dependent tourists (2-3 people) dropping in the museum, rather than big groups organized by JDC, Hesed, schools, etc. have become a new feature of the Museum's attendance in August and September. Owing to the outside ads successfully run, the Jewish museum has been gaining popularity among the Odessans and people abroad. Small groups of visitors having Odessa's map, where the address of the museum is put down, come to one of the Jewish sites, where they can obtain additional knowledge and feel the zest of the former every day Jewish life. Among the guests there were groups from Great Britain, USA, Israel, Austria, Germany, Australia, Russia and Moldova.
- A collaborative seminar of the Odessa State University and Regensburg University was run in Shorashim Jewish museum, on September 14. The seminar's participants - Professors of Slavonic scholar and students-specialist in the history/philology of the Slavs had the lecture on the history of the Jewish museum, which had been destroyed during the war occupation. The visitors also had a tour of Shorashim, and as a conclusive part, the lecture of Prof. Shchetnikov on the life of Odessa Jews in the 1940ies was delivered. Despite a complicated program of the event, there were very positive notes in the museum's special book, like "Regensburg students felt themselves as they were at home..."
- Tours and excursions were organized for children of Jewish schools, including Illichevsk children (the city of Odessa periphery). Among the kids' quotes there were such as: "A very nice museum. I like it very much?!"
- The museum's activities were highly appreciated by specialists from the Vienna Jewish Museum and Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. By the latest it is planned to take their students to Shorashim for touring and gaining knowledge.
- The expositions of Shorashim were replenished with a set of old photos and documents presented by a granddaughter of Irma Druhker. The descendant of a famous Yiddish writer visited Shorashim with her husband, in September.
- The daughter of a Secretary of Revisionists party, Mrs. Yankilevich, who for the first time visited Shorashim with her family, delivered significant information about the party's collaborative activities with V.Zeev Zhabotinsky.
- One of the core events held by the Jewish museum has been the opening of a new exposition of creative painting works of Ruht Strelnikova-Rozenblit. The exposition's opening took place on September 18. The pictorial works of the Jewish painter are being exhibited for the first time.
- Shorashim Museum has been actively leading a preparatory work for implementation of the 5th International Scientific Conference "Odessa and Jewish Civilization" devoted to the 185th birthday anniversary of Lev Pinsker. The Conference will take place on October 23-25, 2006, with participation of Odessa Society of the Jewish Culture, Odessa National I.I. Mechnikov University, Judaica Institute of Kiev, and Judaica Educators of Sefer Centers (Moscow).