Home > Events > February 2008

5.05.2008 15:38

February 2008


It was extremely difficult to recognize “Beit-Grand’ building on Sunday, February 3rd. For just one evening the building turned into a 19th century oasis, fascinating everyone with bright crinolines and formal tuxedoes. And it became possible as Migdal JCC was celebrating its 16th anniversary. As creatively as always.

Couples dancing waltzes and polkas…tender melodies of minuet and mazurka…guests, wearing ball dresses and bow-ties entering the hall… only carriages were missing.

The foyer was decorated with balloons, beautiful flowers, candles and photos of smiling faces. The queen of the ball (director of Migdal JCC) was welcoming her guests sitting on a specially made throne. The ones who for some reason had not paid attention to the dress-code warnings of the organizers, received fans to fit into the atmosphere of the evening. All the guests did not only enjoy elegant dances but also had a chance to try Migdal’s cocktails and snacks during the buffet before the concert.
Then the performances started. Touching vocal performances and amazing dances, interesting skits, poems and humorous numbers…an amazing sight that can never be forgotten. Migdal-Or (Migdal JCC’s theater) performed a beautiful dance that was called one of the best that evening.

Certainly, besides various performance there were congratulatory speeches. There is never a birthday party going without different wishes and congratulations. And everyone was eager to wish Migdal JCC all the best and many more celebrations just like this one. Among the ones congratulating were director of JDC Odessa, first secretary of Israeli embassy, Chabbad rabbi, head of Association of Ghetto survivors and many others.

There were a couple of surprises prepared precisely for this day. One of the most famous dance groups of Migdal JCC, which unfortunately doesn’t exist any longer has got together for such an event and prepared a passionate gipsy dance, which was declared to have been one of the brightest during the evening, the one that could easily rival professional gipsy dancers.
Kalman’s “Silva” was sung in a special Jewish way by the actresses of Migdal-Or.

All this was taking place Sunday evening. However, Sunday morning wasn’t less eventful. A children’s ball was going on in Beit Grand. And all the kids were representing heroes of a very well-know fairy-tale “Alice in Wonderland”. Their ball was as bright and fun as the one that took place later that day.


On February 8-10, Migdal JCC held its VIII annual youth conference. The conference took place in Chabanka, a town near Odessa. This year it was called “An Individual is the Highest Creation” and the participants discussed everything connected with humans – their inner world and appearance, how they communicate with each other, etc. Besides this, humans were looked upon as the ones forming Jewish community, following Jewish traditions and learning Jewish history.
After long preparatory discussions, that had been made in advance, two blocks of themes were formed. Each block included particular reports that the participants made during the conference.

1st block
• “Every Person is a Whole Universe”.
• “Two Worlds. One Personality. Body and Soul”.
• “Sense and Sensibility”.
• “Beautiful Mind”.
• “A Unique Person: Thought, Word, Action”.
2nd block
• “Me and the Others”.
• “Freedom and Ethics: Unity and Opposition”.
• “Creative Activity: Personality as the One, Holding Creative Power”.
• “Place of a Human Being in the World, or the World – for the Human Being”.
• “Human Mission”.

Among the participants of the conference were not only young people from Odessa, but also from Simferopol and Kyiv. Besides, there were two families with small children, the parents of whom had decided to show their children what a traditional Migdal conference looked like.

During the first day many interesting reports were made, including “Every Human is a Miracle”, “Will of Every Individual” and many others. In order to stretch up from listening to the reports one of the participants held a test that included both physical and mental activities. As the results of the test showed, all the people, who took part in it, were extraordinary and creative. This was exactly what was to be proven.

Then everyone discussed all the advantages and some of the negative sides of dreaming. The discussion turned into a very heated debate with examples from everyday life. After Shabbat another interesting topic was discussed – differences between men’s and women’s logic and their perception of the reality. And right after this another important problem was raised – on how people sometimes live in illusionary world and can’t live in the reality any longer.

There were many other things that were discussed during the conference and they left no one indifferent, as these are the things that we live with all our lives. Besides official discussions, the participants had a chance to try and find answers to many global questions during non-formal active socializing that ended long after midnight both days.
All the official events were wonderfully mixed with after-lunch naps, walks to the lake, games, etc.
The two final speeches of the conference were dedicated to the mission of every person and the role-plays that we perform every day during our lives. The evening was spent in trying out one of such role-plays. The participants spontaneously founded a “Mafia-club” and played till late at night.

Most surely, not all the questions found their answers during the conference, but at least all the participants started to think about their lives, about their place in the world much more than they did before the conference. The participants also managed to look at each other from the prospect of being united when forming Jewish communities in their cities. Thus, clearly the conference turned out to be a success.

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Kira Verkhovskaya , the President of the JCC «Migdal» center.