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Raje-USA Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Human Service Organizations, Human Services

Mission: The mission of RAJE is to ensure that the current generation of, 18 – 30 year old, Russian American Jews be provided with the Jewish education, social bonding and positive inspiration needed to sufficiently strengthen their sense of Jewish peoplehood, thereby increasing the likelihood that they: Establish a Jewish household Affiliate themselves with and be involved in the life of the Jewish community Fulfill their spiritual needs through the study and practice of Judaism Develop a strong connection with the State of Israel

Results: Each year, approximately 750 students complete RAJE fellowship programming. As a direct result, most have remained involved in Jewish communal life by actively participating in follow-up programming and/or have found alternate venues of engagement within the community; 50% have chosen to continue their Jewish education in one form or another, 30% are now involved in UJA Federation network agencies, in leadership positions and/or other capacities.

Target demographics: 18 – 30 year old Russian American Jews

Geographic areas served: North America

Programs: RAJE developed a unique system of deep level engagement, known as the RAJE Fellowship program. The semester long program consists of ten, 4.5 hour sessions, 2 weekend retreats and a 14 day educational trip to Europe and Israel. Over the course of a single semester the students experience over 250 hours of highly impactful and transformative programming, a higher level of deep level engagement then any program of its type within the Jewish community.

Community Stories

103 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

Participating in RAJE has enhanced my observance of Judaism and allowed me to get an even better feel for my heritage. I also met my now husband during the program, so it's definitely a wonderful venue for meeting people with whom you share ideals.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization taught me to be proud of my people. It just awesome!

11 larichik

Client Served

Rating: 5

Best jewish organization I have ever attended. Because of them I am finally learning things I never did. They are the Jewish/Yesiva experience I never got growing up as a young Russian/Jewish boy in NYC.

10

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've never been interested in joining any jewish organization before. I consider myself to be secular and have never met any Rabbi who could engage me on a personal level. Until i came to RAJE i never knew anything about being a Jew. They've taken me in like a long lost relative and they accept me for who i am and communicate the jewish faith in a way that's entertaining, engaging and I've learned more about being a jew in one month of RAJE then i have in the previous 25 yrs of my life. For the first time in my life i have discovered what it feels like to be among my people.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

They've taught me identity, community involvement, and Jewish values. This is an organization that doesn't spend its time, energy or resources frivolously. It does what it sets out to do - to bring people back to their roots.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

RAJE is an amazing organization. I attanded RAJE classes for 6 month learning about Jewish history and religion. I was exposed to a lot of new ideas and experiences. The staff of RAJE is very dedicated. They are always there for you both in terms of providing guidence as well as education. Following the 6 month classes, I went with this organization to Israel, where I learned about my culture and my roots. It was a very fun and educational experience which was organized extremely well.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I love RAJE, as for my knolege RAJE IS THE ONLY PLACE IN NY SPECIALLY DESIGATED FOR RUSSIAN JEWS GO RAJE

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was a participant of one of the trips to Israel as well as I had a chance to attend history classes conducted by RAJE. From my point of view, RAJE is a great organization that UNITE young people from different backgrounds, and the most important, make them to be proud of their origin. I was grown up in the former Soviet Union, and at the time of living there, I have experienced and loved the Russian culture. When I came to USA I didn't know much about Jewish communities in USA, I didn't know much about culture, religion, and Jewish way of life. Although, I have always felt that I am a Jewish. When I got a chance to visit Israel through RAJE, I was a very happy that I will visit a country, which I always dreamed to see, and this trip will be with young people like me. These three weeks that I spent in Israel were a tremendous experience for me. For me, it was the trip that made me feel what this country means for the whole world, it gave me the experience of the Jewish way of life. For three weeks I have lived in the atmosphere of Israeli way of life. It was very important to me to feel it, to feel the atmosphere of the Jewish way of life. And I don't know if I had such a feeling if I simply visited country with my family or friends. After I came from Israel, I have attended some history classes, where I had also a chance to get answers on very important questions for me. I think that RAJE plays a great role in life of many young people, since it helps to find something very important, it helps to experience a great heritage, RAJE helps to find real friends and helps us to be proud of our roots.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Great staff, great programs & events... The organization has inspired many young people from the community that had previously been thought of as unaffiliated, uninformed, and uninvolved in Jewish life.

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

Very interesting and fun organization. Provides great information on many different issues facing young Jews. Plenty of interactive programs and a awesome experience as a whole to meet new people and learn a lot.

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

I participated in an educational series (a number of weeks, once a week) of courses RAJE gave and went with them on a trip to Israel. Both were free for me. As a 23 year old man, starting out working, and having my own business, I am very grateful for having for having been exposed to the speakers which spoke at the classes. They were all leaders of their industries; real estate developers doing billion dollar deals, executives who lead companies in the national spotlight, ect. I understand more about Judaism as a religion, culture, and a people since the program. The rabbis were an inspiration to me, and I still think about the example they set and aim to do the kind of good that they are doing. On the trip to Israel, I had what was probably the first strong spiritual experience of my life, and it's impossible to place a value on that. RAJE has been invaluable to me and, and I will always be grateful for the lessons I have learned and the experiences I've had. Thank you, Dmitry Kuzinets

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

A great organization with excellent principles and goals. They have provided me with a better understanding of my background and roots. Also, with a new self awareness which will help me hence forth in all my future endeavors in my life. By creating this type of environment which fosters education and spiritual growth they help the community at large to reach its potential and build toward future growth and and success. Serving in this critical role is essential for future generations to also be able to relish in their cultural richness and heritage from which we have all descendant from. And thus by effecting so many lives with their cause of promoting self awareness through cultural and religious understanding they help to shape my generation and all future generations. Hopefully others who follow me will be as greatly enriched by this experience as I have.

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

I went through Russian Jewish Leadership Program by RAJE and learned a great deal about Judaism. It was 8 to 10 learning sessions including staying for shabbat at religious Jewish family twice. It also gives Russian Jews an opportunity to meet other Jews in the NY area.

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

RAJE is a life changing experiece with a very positive outcome. It was a great way to meet people, make great friends and get closer to our culture. On a personal level, it was a unique experiece for me and my fiance to get closer, because we had yet another thing in common to share. We learned together, had fun during RAJE sessions, and experieced first hand the unity that can come from being around people of the same culture as yours. It made us stronger and closer as a couple, and wiser and more informed as individuals. Insighful lectures, led by the rabis opened our eyes to new horizons and gave us a new perspective in life. I think it is essencial to any Jewish youth to do at least one semester of this program to get a feel for thre Jewish culture and have the time of a life time. Definitely worth the time you put into it!

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

The people at RAJE are very nice and work very hard to teach us the youth. My experience so far has been very good. I have met a lot of important people that have taught me to strive for the best. i have been taught that hard work leads to amazing results. I have been inspired to do better in school and i would highly recommend this program to all of the jewish youth.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

RAJE was by far the best thing I ever did to get in touch with my spiritual side. Having been born in communist Russia I had no idea what being Jewish was all about, it was RAJE that exposed me to a way of living I had no idea existed. I'm sooooo thankful to them for exposing me to the Jewish community. -AJT

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Raje provide a solid platform to reach out to young (18-30) jews. RAJE promote values that are intrinsic to jewish culture reaching out to people who are out of touch with basics jewish laws and tradition.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I do not remember who introduced me to RAJE but was told it would be a rewarding experience. I did some research into the organization to get a better understanding of what it was I would be committing myself to. I read that it was designed to bring together the areas Russian youth and educate them about their Jewish identity. That was a year ago this week. After spending every Sunday for ten weeks at the Schul on Ocean parkway listening to prominent members of the Jewish community and Rabbi’s speak about Jewish topics as well as mentors discuss ideas in the Torah I can say without a doubt that I have become better informed about the Jewish faith. While I was growing up I never had a formal Jewish education at a Yeshiva. Everything I knew about Judaism I learned from family, friends and Rabbi’s during visits to synagogue. I grew up in a predominantly Jewish community but it was not enough to fill-in the gaps of missing information. And so I grew up without religion being a central part of my life. But I was always curious about my Jewish roots; what is was and what it meant. Once I learned that there was an organization educating young Russian Jews about their religion I knew this was something I should consider. During the orientation I spoke with people I already knew and met many new people. We were introduced to the organization and were told what to expect during the semester. The program easily fell into routine and I began taking in this new source of Jewish education. Every week notable members from the Jewish community would speak about their experiences and the significance of being Jewish. Rabbi Goldshteyn would deliver a lecture packed with wisdom and his characteristic humor and whit. We would then be allowed to socialize with each other and discuss how great the food provided to us was. Then we would split up with our mentors and talk about a predetermined topic from the Torah. Debate happens to be an interest of mine and when a topic from the Torah is discussed a healthy thought provoking debate follows. Several weeks into the program I had grown accustomed to the Sundays in Brooklyn. I even looked forward to the whole experience. Coming to RAJE soon became an important part of my week, one that I looked forward to. When the semester drew to a close it was almost saddening. But the end of the semester meant that our trip to Israel and Europe was closer. The culmination of our studies ended up with a trip to Paris and all over Israel. I remember when we met our group for the first time. We had an orientation at the Schul. We sat in a circle and introduced ourselves. I remember being excited that the trip was upon us and that it was actually going to happen. In a few short weeks we were at JFK airport and off to Europe! There was so much to see it seemed that two weeks was not enough time to take it all in. We traveled to nearly every major city in the country except for Eilat. We went to holy sites and visited numerous towns. Jerusalem was the most important single city we visited. It was the city we spent the most time in. Judaism’s most important site is located in this ancient city. The Western Wall was the site of both the first and second Temple. Jews pilgrimage to the site and pray at its walls. Visiting the Old City where the wall is located transports you back in time. It has the same feel as it did over a millennia ago. I had never experienced anything like it before. We took tours and were educated about many of its features. We even had the opportunity to spend Shabbas in the Old City with families who live there. Even though it felt like a once-in-a-lifetime event, I hope I get to experience it again. We were often asked “what was the most memorable day of the trip”? It must be mentioned there were many gems during the trip. Each day, though hectic, was filled with fun and adventure. The most memorable day however was when we climbed Masada to watch the sunrise. On that day we repelled off ancient hills where the Dead Sea Scrolls were located. Even though the sun was baking and the drinking water was hot I still had an amazing experience. One thing I am particularly fortunate for is the new people that I have met during the trip. There were a total of thirty-five members in our group and there were at least two more groups with the same number of people. I have met people who I intend to stay in contact for a very long time from friends to mentors. Being surrounded by good people made the entire experience that much more rewarding. After completing a semester at RAJE and going on the trip which was generously sponsored by the organizations benefactors I have to say that participating in the program was the most important thing I have done this year. So rewarding is the experience that I intend to spend another semester at RAJE doing the Action program. I am looking forward to another semester filled with meeting new people learning about the Jewish faith and its history and becoming a better person in the process.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Coming as a Russian immigrant to America – I have been searching for a Jewish place where I can feel at home and develop spiritual growth. For two years, RAJE has been a place where I was learning Torah, met new friends, developed networking and business connections and spent many Shabbatot. This program filled a niche where Russian Jews can develop a strong Jewish identity and get involved in building a Jewish community. One program that I was more than honored to be part of was the RAJE Tanach Fellowship. It was a semester-long program featuring speakers from all facets of the Jewish world of Torah education. There were several speakers which left a long lasting impression on me: Rabbi Katzin combines secular psychology and literature knowledge with an analysis of the Torah portion. Rabbi Foreman offers a modern and traditional approach to Tanach. Rabbi Chaskey discussed Jewish history in the context of global developments. Other parts of that program included a group-Shabbat in New Jersey as well as a local Shabbaton at RAJE center with several classes. As a final part of the Tanach program was a trip to Europe and Israel. However, I wasn’t able to take of from my internship to participate in that trip. My friends who went on that trip were deeply inspired – they started going to shul more often or observe new commandments. Some of them felt that they need to learn more intensively – for those individuals, RAJE organized a summer-yeshiva program in Israel . In addition to that, Rebbetzin Chaskey has been preparing me for my wedding by offering amazingly witty and insightful Kallah classes for brides. She welcomed me nay times at her home and taught me the laws of family purity as well as tips of how to create a peaceful and happy Jewish married life. I’m very thankful to her for her teachings which I apply daily in my home.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Excelent experience!!!! I think Raje is a wonderful organization that does it's best to unite jews and help them in many aspects of their lives.