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April 2011



Russian Culture Week was marked by a special exhibit of work by Soviet Jewish artist Felix Lembersky at the Rose Art Museum on March 10.


The exhibit included two of Lembersky's most poignant Babi Yar paintings, one of which was exhibited for the first time. The paintings depict the single largest mass murder of Ukranian Jews, in September 1941.  


BGI fellows and staff at the Lembersky exhibit

















Nera Lerner '12, a Brandeis-Genesis Institute fellow and double Economics and Russian Studies major with an Art History minor, curated and organized the event for her Brandeis-Genesis Institute community project.  


The exhibit was preceded by a talk on "Jewish Art and Propaganda of the Russian Revolution" on March 7 by Professor ChaeRan Freeze. Her lecture examined the contribution of Russian Jewish artists to the construction of a new socialist society following the Russian Revolution of 1917. Read More

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Yosef Begun with BGI Fellow Karina Gaft and guest

Famed refusenik Yosef Begun visited Brandeis on March 24 to tell his story and share his autobiographical film "Through Struggle You Will Gain Your Rights." The documentary tells the story of the ordeal of Soviet Jews to strengthen their culture and make aliyah from the 1960s to the 1980s.


In 1971, Begun applied for and was denied an emigration visa to Israel, beginning a 25 year struggle against the Soviet state for Jewish rights. Begun spent over ten years in Soviet prisons. He was released in 1987 following a massive public outcry including, an appeal from President Ronald Reagan. He lives today in Jerusalem.


BGI Fellow Lev Gorfinkel '13 reflected, "After his lecture, I called my parents and I started asking them questions about Zionism in our family and questions about and how we ended up living in Israel. Because of Yosef Begun, I found out new details about my family history that I had no clue about before. like having Zionists in my family that moved to Israel in the late 1970s." Read More

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Alumni of the Office of High School Program's BIMA and Genesis summer program from Israel, Moscow, St. Petersburg and  Kiev came together for a three day retreat in the North of Israel at Kibbutz Channaton from February 24-27.   



This was the first time BIMA and Genesis have conducted follow-up programming for alumni in Israel. The retreat focused on defining leadership and providing the BIMA and Genesis alumni with an opportunity to reconnect and continue to deepen their Jewish connections and commitments.  


Activities included text study, a trip to a nearby immigration detention camp from World War II, meetings with members of this newly reestablished kibbutz, celebrating Shabbat together and each student working on an individual project to better understand leadership in their life and community. The retreat concluded with each participant delivering a presentation of what they learned about leadership and how they see leadership fitting into their lives. Read More 

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The Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program at Brandeis University, in partnership with the Brandeis-Genesis Institute (BGI) for Russian Jewry, is pleased to announce full tuition scholarships for qualified Russian speakers for Hornstein's graduate degree programs in Jewish Professional Leadership.













Applications are now being accepted for Fall 2011 for this unique opportunity to earn two Masters degrees in 21 months:      

  • Dual MBA-MA in Jewish Professional Leadership 
  • Dual MPP-MA in Jewish Professional Leadership 
  • Dual MA in Jewish Professional Leadership and Near Eastern and Judaic Studies

Through this new scholarship, Hornstein and BGI seek to promote Jewish identity and involvement of Russian speakers by training the next generation of Jewishly literate and highly skilled professional leaders. Scholarship recipients participate in an intensive graduate school curriculum and assist with undergraduate activities related to Jewish identity building. Applicants must be highly-motivated, academically-qualified college graduates from Russian-speaking backgrounds who are committed to a robust Jewish future, and who want to gain the necessary skills and knowledge to put this commitment into action.  


For more information about the Hornstein Program and application procedures, please visit the website or call 781-736-2991 to speak with Rise Singer.   

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The mission of the Brandeis-Genesis Institute (BGI) is to prepare Russian-speaking students from around the world to become effective community leaders fortified by Jewish knowledge, a systematic understanding of Russian Jewry, and a commitment to the future of the Jewish people.

The Brandeis-Genesis Institute for Russian Jewry is funded by the Genesis Philanthropy Group.
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