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Loving Shabbat, Learning our Heritage

Lana Severinsky is one of PJ Library’s Russian Community Coordinators. It’s been her job to spread the word that generous tuition grants are available for kids from Russian speaking Jewish families (RSJ) to attend Jewish overnight camps this summer. The grants are made possible with the generous support of Genesis Philanthropy Group in partnership with the Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC).

Lana’s eight-year-old daughter Vera received aRSJ Camp Access grant and is “beyond excited” go to Camp Coleman in just a few weeks! “My wish for Vera is that camp gives her a sense of the larger Jewish community. She has some Jewish kids in her class, but I want her to understand Jewish peoplehood — what it is to have Shabbat with all your friends, to sing and dance, and feel pride in being Jewish.” 

Elina Brager came to Atlanta from the former Soviet Union 30 years ago at age 18. Opportunities to experience Jewish religion and culture were extremely limited in Russia and there was no such thing as Jewish camp when she was growing up. “Going to camp was just not something Jewish families did. Now the most important thing for me and my family is that we learn our Jewish heritage and celebrate it. That’s why my daughter Naomi is a student at The Epstein School and why we wanted her to go to Ramah Darom the summer before the pandemic. Camp tuition has increased, so this grant makes it possible for Naomi to return.”  

“Naomi really grew at camp. She matured. She felt the joy of being Jewish. Her world expanded. I could see how connected she felt to her friends, to Jewish culture. We are so grateful that she’ll be able to go back to camp this summer.”