Our Bar/Batmitzvah twinning group have returned from an incredible weekend in Kiev. Nine children and their families from Muswell Hill Synagogue, together with Rabbi David Mason, World ORT’s Shoshana Kandel and Programme Facilitator Frankie Stubbs, embarked on a fascinating journey to the Ukraine’s capital city which is steeped in Jewish history.
Prior to the trip, Programme Coordinator Anthea Jackson, together with Frankie, have been running monthly sessions for the UK children on Jewish heritage and identity. The Year 7 participants shared their family trees, sampled Ukranian cuisine and learnt about World ORT‘s life-changing work. Each student was then twinned with a peer in Kiev who attends a school in the World ORT Network.
The children were excited to meet their twins in person, having only had email exchanges. They were introduced as they toured their schools – the Jewish State Educational Complex "Simha", which is undergoing exciting building work as part of a major ORT refurbishment project and the Kiev ORT Educational Complex #141.
The twins and their families spent a meaningful Shabbat together at the Brodsky Synagogue, followed by a very special Havdalah.
The group also toured the local area, visiting the Kiev Pechersk Lavra (Monastery of the Caves), the Museum of Micro-Miniatures, the Motherland World War II Museum and the Podol Syngagoue – the oldest synagogue in Kiev.
The trip culminated in an emotional memorial service at Babi Yar, where the Jewish population of Kiev were murdered during the Holocaust.
The programme will now continue back in the UK, where the children will process the trip and be encouraged to take part in a social action project. At the end of the year, the children will present a Dvar Torah in shul and enjoy a celebratory graduation Kiddush.