Jewish Sunday schools pop up across Europe and Asia

Newest school opens in Bulgaria as part of program by Euro-Asian Jewish Congress to expand Jewish learning

An illustrative photo of students at a Jewish day school. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images via JTA)
An illustrative photo of students at a Jewish day school. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images via JTA)

JTA — Jewish communities in several Asian and European countries have received Jewish Sunday school programs as part of an educational drive by the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress.

The latest addition to the network of free Sunday schools belonging to the JFUTURE network, which have more than 400 students, opened last week in Sofia, Bulgaria, according to the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress.

Other countries that have seen JFUTURE Sunday schools opening since the project’s launch in November include Montenegro, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Serbia, Bulgaria, Japan, India and Kazakhstan.

The students learn Hebrew and about Judaism.

In each school, the students are divided into four age groups, including one for adults. Each class has up to 15 students. Teachers are recruited from within the Jewish community. Classes are held in Jewish community facilities.

Israeli-Georgian tycoon and philanthropist Mikhael Mirilashvili. (YouTube screenshot)

“This new generation is our people’s future, and it is our top priority to acquaint them with the history and tradition of the Jewish people,” Mikhael Mirilashvili, a Georgian-Israeli billionaire and philanthropist and president of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, wrote in a statement. The group is a regional affiliate of the World Jewish Congress.

His office declined to answer JTA’s inquiry about the project’s budget, saying only that it was “substantial.”

Berel Lazar, a chief rabbi of Russia and the top Chabad emissary there, said in a statement: “It is gratifying to see that such a project appeared just now, when Jews in various countries are facing an acute problem of preserving their national identity.”

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