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Junction

Micro Grant Interview: Haver Serbia Shabbat

"I wanted to bring people closer together and connect Jews and non-Jews through learning about Shabbat. Creating a Shabbat experience that is different requires funding for learning materials, good food and of course wine." - Mila Stojanovic

Mila Stojanovic has been in the Junction orbit for as long as there has been a Junction orbit, and even before. She’s the type of leader Junction seeks to identify having been trained at Szarvas International Jewish Camp as a Madricha for ten years and was one of the leaders in the Center for informal Jewish education in her community.

Mila was born in Germany, lived in Switzerland, but the majority of her life she spent in Serbia and ever since Mila was in kindergarten she had a dream to become a teacher. She followed her dream, got bachelor’s and master’s degree at the Teacher Education Faculty in Belgrade. Her passion for teaching and making change is also spread outside the formal frames.

Today Mila is an educational coordinator for the NGO Haver Srbija (http://haver.rs/) where she aims to make an impact through education and create a more tolerant and open society. Her major responsibility is the development and implementation of programs for public schools with an aim to educate school children about Judaism, confront prejudice and discrimination and teach about the Holocaust. Today next to her work Mila volunteers on different community programs and is on the organizational team of local Limmud. But we don’t just want to identify leaders like Mila we also strive to be the resource that supports these leaders in building local communities.

Mila’s Shabbat with Jews and non-Jews in Belgrade, a marriage between her personal and professional passions, gave Junction the opportunity to help out someone who has been a friend of ours for a very long time!

Q. What was your key takeaway from the Shabbat?

A. All the participants enjoyed this event, a lot of them got inspired and they are looking for more gatherings like this one. It gives me lot of motivation and energy for future initiatives.

Q. What lead you to apply for a micro-grant?

A. I wanted to bring people closer together and connect Jews and non-Jews through learning about Shabbat. Creating a Shabbat experience that is different requires funding for learning materials, good food and of course wine.

Q. What surprised you about the planning process?

A. It was surprising how smoothly it went to arrange for the event to take place in the Jewish Community building no one to complained about why we were not in the synagogue.

Q. What was your Jewish involvement in the past?

A. I was working in the center for informal Jewish education of JCBelgrad, involved in many events, seminars, conferences and summer camps, having different responsibilities.

Q. What is your Jewish involvement now?

A. I work in the NGO Haver Serbia as the coordinator for educational programs and volunteer in different projects such as Limmud Ex-Yu, Educational training for young Madrichim, Ledor VaDor, etc…

Q. What excites you about the Jewish future?

A. I believe that we can all find a way to connect with Judaism and the Jewish community.

Q. What should people know about the Serbian Jewish Community?

A. The Serbian Jewish Community is a small community that is slowly opening up for new and innovative ways to learn and grow.

Q. What’s next for you?

A. There are a lot of things on my Haver Serbia agenda and my volunteer agenda, and I will definitely dedicate time to support and inspire members of my Community to create similar events.

Junction micro grants are awarded to innovative, engaging young adult community projects and can range from $1000 to $5000.

If you have a new program idea such as a celebration of a Jewish holiday or a Jewish social event and want to make it happen, find out more here!

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