RAJEing since 2008
Anna moved to the US from Turkmenistan at age
twelve. Her family was grateful for the religious
freedom offered in America, but Anna wasn't
motivated to take steps to learn and grow on her
own until after her first trip to Israel. "I went on
Birthright, and came back really inspired to learn more."
Before RAJE was "RAJE," Anna participated in every program she
could get at the Brighton Beach center. "I was really hanging out with
the 'crowd' then. There was a whole group of us always around, taking
the classes." She began with the Tanach program, which she felt offered
"more in-depth learning of Judaism and everything it has to offer. We
were really exploring Judaism, using Jewish texts themselves." She was
moved by her studies to continue into more advanced programming, all
of which helped her "take my Jewish identity to the next step."
Her education through RAJE empowered Anna to devote her life to
assisting the Jewish community. "I believe in the Jewish cause. I know
what it feels like to feel alienated, not to know your place in the world.
Judaism should be about embracing every Jew. It's not about where
you come from, it's about where you're going. We should all love each
other and help each other grow in whichever way we can." Anna tries
to inspire others to adopt her ethic of responsibility through her work
with iVolunteer. This program helps Holocaust survivors, and at Project
Genesis, "a Russian-Jewish foundation started in Russia with private
donors, they try to reach out to Russian-Jewish communities throughout
the world." Anna is also involved with the organization Rayon, where
she is part of a "team of people who want to be involved in the Russian
Jewish community. We're really all about handing over leadership
to the young adults there who've gone through different programs."
Anna is not only a leader herself, but she is already inspiring the next
generation of Jewish leaders.