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New generation of Russians now making its mark

(N.Y. Jewish Week) — They’ve moved beyond the chess games on Ocean Parkway and the Brighton Beach boardwalk strolls, those clichéd markers of the Russian immigration wave of the 1980s and ‘90s.

“We’re night and day from our parents’ generation,” said Esther Lamm, a native of Lvov who leads UJA-Federation of New York’s Russian Leadership Division. “We’re the children of the generation that left Egypt.”

Today’s young Russian Jews are hipper, wealthier and more actively Jewish than their parents. They are creating their own institutions and making their presence felt in the wider Jewish community.

“They’re no longer a poor immigrant group that needs to be supported,” said Rabbi Jay Henry Moses, director of the Wexner Heritage program, which recently created its first “cohort for Russian-speaking Jews.” The new leadership-training program, which will start at a five-day institute in Aspen, Colo., next month, was launched in partnership with UJA-Federation and is guided by Russian Jews for Russian Jews.
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