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August 2011

Dear Friends and Colleagues,


Completing a second year of the program has become a great milestone. This year was filled with intellectual, academic and cultural events that touched our hearts and challenged our minds. BGI has been continually increasing its impact on the broader Jewish community through social action projects and educational events, organized by fellows. These projects involve other Brandeis students as well as many other community members.


As I write, over 40 Russian-speaking high school students from United States, Canada, Israel and Former Soviet Union are immersed in the Genesis and BIMA programs, exploring everything Brandeis has to offer.


As 6 undergraduate and 3 graduate BGI fellows have graduated and have embarked on their life long journey of using the skills and the knowledge acquired in making meaningful contributions to the Russian-speaking and American Jewish communities, another 4 undergraduate and 1 graduate fellows will be joining the program in the fall.


We are gearing up for the new academic year filled with academic lectures, mini-conferences, weekend seminars and exciting cultural and social events that enrich fellows' Jewish identity. 




Victor Vitkin

Executive Director

Brandeis-Genesis Institute for Russian Jewry


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Brandeis-Genesis Institute for Russian Jewry held its first Plus Retreat - What I Think You Think of Me - on Sunday, April 3, 2011. Undergraduate BGI fellows and their peers from Brandeis were invited to participate in a range of discussions, interactive sessions and workshops on issues concerning Russian Jewish identity, Jewish history and the relations between the Russian and American Jewish communities.  


 BGI Fellows and Brandeis students at the Retreat


The Fellows and their friends explored Russian Jewish culture and history, and engaged in dialogue that exposed students from Russian Jewish and American Jewish communities to each other's values, ideas and social histories. Read More


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The first ever BGI graduation ceremony took place on May 13th 2011. Graduation ceremony is not unlike ship setting sail - congratulatory speeches, atmosphere of a celebration.First graduation, just like the first sail of the boat, becomes an indication of its successful performance in the future. Graduates of the Institute are an excellent testament to its strength.

BGI Graduation

BGI Graduates with President Lawrence and Ilia Salita (GPG)


Julian Olidort '11 reflected on his experience at BGI in his commencement speech: "BGI has finally provided us with a forum in which to grow together, and further develop the values and understanding of our very own demographic-that of first generation, Russian-heritage speaking, American Jews, raised in the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union. 

This is our very own, brand-new culture, and we are the ones who will raise it." Read More 


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Six BGI undergraduate fellows entered the complex world of 

BGI Fellows Explore Jewish Odessathe Jewish past and built connections to contemporary Jewish communities as they traveled to Ukraine together in the first week of June 2011.   

The five-day trip focused on Jewish history and contemporary Jewish life in Kiev, Odessa, and points in between. 


The group experienced the richness of Jewish heritage, encountered the devastation of Jewish life in the pogroms and the Holocaust, and witnessed heroic efforts to revive and strengthen the contemporary Jewish community in post-Soviet Ukraine. 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 2012 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.   

In This Issue

Graduation Ceremony

In the Ukraine

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About Us


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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