RAJEing since 2007
Misha's journey began when his family
immigrated to the United States from Ukraine in
1995. He was thirteen at the time, a challenging
age to make a major life transition. Although "I
knew that I was Jewish, and I was never against
Judaism, I was just too busy to learn anything about it."His childhood
experiences led him to believe that "Jew" is "a word that is not to be
said in public," and that being Jewish was "no more than a reason why
one gets into fights at school."
It wasn't until many years later that Misha had the opportunity to develop
a deeper understanding of his Jewish identity. After completing public
school, graduating from university and working for a few years in the
financial sector, "it was my good fortune to be introduced to RAJE."
He jokes, "I heard there were a lot of single girls at RAJE and a lot
of free food." He found "a path to the deep and the real learning of
what Judaism has to offer," thanks to "the momentous efforts of the
Rabbis and the staff involved with RAJE. There was never a shortage
of engaging and meaningful opportunities."
After the Leadership program, he completed the second-level Action
program. His experience in the Brighton Beach center and on his trips
to Israel inspired him to give back to the Russian-American Jewish
community. He contributed at a convention for young Jewish leaders
in New Orleans, and with the help of fellow RAJErs has organized a
networking event to help young Russian-Jewish professionals make
new connections and potentially find new job opportunities. Misha
came to RAJE looking for a Russian-Jewish social life. But on reflection,
he says he found "a whole different kind of socializing."