Jewish Education For Russian Immigrant Families


It was with great interest that I read the article about the Russian Jews’ immigration to the U.S. and especially here to Baltimore (“Reconnect With The People,” Sept. 27).

Here is some added information:

When Dr. Hyman Chanover was the head of the Board of Jewish Education (now the Macks Center for Jewish Education), the BJE received a grant for a program called Jewish Education for Russian Immigrant Families. I was asked to co-head this program with Sandy Vogel.

We planned programs that were suitable for all ages — young children to older adults — such as Passover Seder, a trip to the Jewish Museum in Philadelphia (now the Museum of American Jewish History), Purim and Chanukah celebrations and afternoon activities.

Sriah Shoubin, late father of Shoshana Cardin, was of great assistance, as he translated much of the written material from English to Russian, as each family was given information, booklets, etc. to take home. He and his late wife came to many of these programs and interacted with the newcomers in Russian and helped in their integration into Jewish life and the Baltimore Jewish community.

In your article, you mentioned Rafael Chikvashvili; he was also involved in planning, as he is fluent in English and Russian. He gave us suggestions and ideas that were very apropos for the Russian community.

The program continued for two years.

I like to think that what Sandy and I did helped to acclimate these new immigrants … to the richness, variety and beauty of the Baltimore Jewish community.

Rena Rotenberg


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