Following a season of successful summer camps for younger children, community leaders in Rostov turned their attention to students and young adults, arranging a fun and educational retreat for participants aged 18-28. Programming for this age group is especially important, as it is the last chance to reach out and encourage them to establish Jewish homes.
The retreat was held in the Republic of Adygea, which is about 5 hours away from Rostov in a beautiful and picturesque setting.
“This is our fourth annual seminar catering to students of this age, and we see tremendous results following these retreats. At the last seminar several girls were so inspired by the lectures that they decided to move to Moscow and enroll in Machon Chamesh, a school for higher Jewish learning. Now they have returned to the retreat this year to encourage other girls to follow in their path,” said Rabbi Chaim Danzinger, Shliach to Rostov. “Actually seeing their friends growing in Yiddishkeit has the greatest impact on these students.”
Dovid Faynberg, director of the RoshTov youth club in Rostov, coordinates these youth seminars and other youth programs in the region. “We have found a healthy balance between providing students with fun filled activities and inspiring them with interesting Torah lectures. This is what they really enjoy, and they’re so eager to attend these retreats each year,” said Faynberg.
Aside from conducting classes on a wide array of Jewish topics, a big emphasis is made on combating intermarriage and encouraging participants to commit to marrying Jews.
This year, there was a truly special surprise during the retreat, when Aaron, a young man from Rostov, proposed to Elisheva, a girl from Perm. They met a few months ago while attending EuroStars (a study and travel program), and at this seminar they decided to make things official.
“This was a tremendous way to end of the seminar, as it served as a real inspiration for others to believe they will find a Jewish spouse! It reinforced everything we have been talking about,” said Rabbi Danzinger. “And Rabbi Mendy Wilansky deserves special thanks for all his help in facilitating this fantastic retreat as well as Rabbi Levi Drutz.”