RAJE - The Russian American Jewish Experience RAJE - The Russian American Jewish Experience. 

RAJE is an evolving organization committed to sparking Jewish life in Russian American society. We  are passionate about building a community that embraces Russian speaking Jews from all walks of life. 

The core of RAJE is our Fellowship Programming.
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Meet The RAJE Alumni

MARIANNA LEYBENGRUB
RAJEing since 2007

MARIANNA LEYBENGRUB

In Estonia in the late 1980s, "it was hard to get a job, own property, or even go to school as a Jew." It's hardly a wonder that Marianna and her family immigrated to the States in 1995, and also not surprising that she was raised "completely secular."

After high school, Marianna visited Israel with Birthright, and extended her trip to visit family. Staying in a hostel in Jerusalem, she met two girls from Brighton Beach. Biana Lupa, a RAJE alumna, told her, "When you get back, you have to join this program."

After completing the first level of RAJE - Leadership Fellowship program, Marianna was not able to go to Israel on a RAJE trip due to her busy schedule with work and school. Marianna nevertheless continued her studies at RAJE, completing the Madrichim Advanced Leadership program the first semester it was offered. "For my first RAJE trip I went as a Madricha." While the trip was exciting, what Marianna appreciated the most at RAJE was "feeling of being part of the family." Since then, she goteven further involved. RAJE has been "like a home away from home: The connectedness to each other and the whole feeling of family is reinforced by learning about our common history, and it's a powerful feeling."

Marianna has given back to her own community in many ways: learning with new students as a mentor, volunteering to help with recruiting and accounting, and helping out at Shabbatons. When she saw that there was a need for a library of books on Jewish and Israel history and philosophy, she took the initiative to start the RAJE library: "I put it together with some of the staff's donated books as well as books purchased with my own charity money." By the time the books were ready to be placed on the shelves, the whole community had come together behind her project: "The whole community came out to put the library together- it was amazing to see."

For Marianna, there are surely even more amazing things to come.

 
 

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