One of our favorite things at Junction is getting to witness and support people who want to create communities of like-minded people in unique spaces. We’ve noticed that most people in our network are very transient, a quick show of hands at programs will tell you how many people were born in one city and live in another, or live their lives in a language that is not their native one.
The Russian speaking Jewish community is all over Europe and Julia is a leader in the Vienna, Austria community connecting Russian-speaking Jews in the city for a taste of something that feels familiar. Julia is a Vienna-based facilitator interested in new technologies, start-ups, community building and sustainable design.
She is originally from Moldova but has lived in Russia, Israel, Sweden and now Austria. From 2009 to 2012, she initiated and successfully managed “Moishe House” in Moldova, the first one set up in Eastern Europe. She was a volunteer with “Limmud FSU”, an international educational conference held in various cities around the world each year, for more than 700 participants per event and is currently the co-chair of the organizing committee of the European chapter.
Q. What was your key takeaway from the Program?
A. My key takeaway was that people really appreciated our event, as they did not have so many options in Vienna.
Q. What lead you to apply for a micro-grant?
A. Pesach is on of the most important holidays for Jewish people. I decided to make our own Seder and to make it affordable, as there are a lot of people who know they should have a seder, but do not have enough knowledge or experience to make their own, and for a lot of people such as families with kids and students the affordable price was also a key issue.
Q. What surprised you about the planning process?
A. I like to plan everything in advance, therefore I did not have many surprises. 🙂
Q. What was your Jewish involvement in the past?
A. It is a long story, I was a very active member of a Jewish Community in Moldova. I went to Jewish school and was involved in the opening of the first Moishe House in former Soviet Union. Later I did my Master in Lauder Business School in Vienna.
Q. What is your Jewish involvement now?
A. Currently, I am trying to make my dream come true and organize a “Limmud” Conference for European Russian speaking Jews in Vienna, along with the development of the Russian-speaking Jewish community in Vienna, which involves organizing a variety of social, cultural and religious activities.
Q. What excites you about the Jewish future?
A. I am excited that we can create our future together. It is very important, that such funds as Junction exist and support the developing of Jewish initiatives. It helps people to get back to their roots, to lead Jewish life, provide education for kids and adults, build Jewish families and spend quality time together as a community.
Q. What should people know about the Russian speaking Austrian Jewish Community?
First, that it exists and it is growing. The potential is great, and we are looking forward to developing our activities further.
Q. What’s next for you?
A. Next is to make my dream Limmud FSU to Vienna come true.
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!