Stalin and Lenin Tried and Failed, So Will the Arabs
Stalin and Lenin Tried and Failed, So Will the Arabs

Attended a gorgeous Jewish wedding Sunday night, which saw strong, proud, tough Jews dancing, rejoicing and celebrating and it made me 'kvell' (glow with enjoyment) – and inspired me to do more for the Jewish people. 

The New York wedding saw the blessed union of Esther Lamm, and Iggy (Igor) Kanchik  - one of the hundreds of young Russian Jews to have met and married via RAJE - Russian American Jewish Experience.  

And what a wedding – dozens of Rabbis, dancing for hours, and all because of RAJE, an organization dedicated to ensuring that the next generation of Russian American Jews will have a future as a dynamic part of the Jewish people. In just a few years thousands of Russian American Jews have completed the RAJE Fellowship program and Israel trip, intermarriage for all Russian Jews in NY is down by 25%, thousands are involved in Jewish life and RAJE alumni are found in leadership roles at countless Jewish organizations.

It seems that amidst all the useless chatter, noise and blah, blah, blah in the American Jewish community, there are some who do real work to ensure that Jewish continuity remains a priority, and at this wedding as we stomped our feet, it felt, as one observer commented to me, as if we were stomping on the grave of Stalin and Lenin who did all they could to wipe out the Jewish people.

Israel and Zionism need to be a focus for American Jewry – but most important is education. Nothing can be more vital. Kanchik was born in Odessa, Ukraine and had literally no exposure to Judaism. He had never even heard of the word 'Jew' until he was 8 years old.

"I found out I was Jewish on the way to America. It was in Italy during a Passover Seder which a Jewish organization had organized for us." A friend brought him to RAJE – and as he says, “..Spirituality has generally made him happier, as has the knowledge I've attained about Judaism and the experiences I've had."

Formal and informal Jewish education is key to keeping Jews in the Diaspora Jewish and involved. From RAJE to programs run by the amazing educator Steve Eisenberg, the amazing work the Wolfson Foundation does and the amazing work Chabad does worldwide is key to continue to keep Jews involved.

Stalin and Lenin couldn’t stamp out the Jewish people, nor will today’s enemies – but if we want committed Jews, then Jewish education and involvement is the key for a lifetime of Jewish knowledge and involvement. Am Israel Chai.

Ronn Torossian is an entrepreneur, author and proud board member of RAJE.