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to SHAMIR Center in Jerusalem
a million Israelis speak Russian.
But what are they saying?
can’t find a decent job.”
“What’s the point of staying in Israel?”
“I know I’m Jewish but what
difference does it make?”
is changing all that.
1971, as millions of Jews remained locked behind the Iron Curtain,
The Lubavitcher Rebbe gathered 20 of the first “refuseniks”
to escape the Soviet Union at a historic private audience and gave
them a mission:
to create the first association of Russian Jews helping each other
materially and spiritually, in Israel and the Soviet Union.
Branover with the
Lubavitcher Rebbe, right
the name of the Association, The Rebbe chose “SHAMIR”,
a Hebrew acronym for Shomrei Mitzvot Yotsei Russia, literally, “keepers
of the commandments who left Russia.”
the Chairman of SHAMIR, The Rebbe chose celebrated physicist and
refusenik, Professor Herman Branover who has led the worldwide organization
in Jerusalem, SHAMIR’s “veteran” newcomers help
more recent arrivals to access housing and jobs, explore their Jewish
heritage, and integrate into Israeli society. Free of any political
alignment, SHAMIR has become a model to be emulated in the eyes
of the Israeli Government and Jewish organizations.
the Cold War, SHAMIR trained a team of translators and editors,
who created a library of important Jewish books in Russian, which
were then smuggled behind the Iron Curtain by SHAMIR activists in
order to preserve Jewish identity and boost morale in the face of
Russia, SHAMIR convened secret prayer and study groups. In spite
of communism, the SHAMIR Jewish Community Center in Moscow has operated
openly since 1984.
Israel, SHAMIR geared up in advance for the collapse of communism
and prepared housing, employment, and educational projects to help
absorb the vast number of immigrants who arrived so suddenly.
unprecedented projects created by SHAMIR in Jerusalem are now widely
emulated throughout the country, and even elsewhere in the world.
projects include the Kiryat SHAMIR housing development in Ramot,
the SHAMIR Advanced Technology and Engineering Center which has
employed hundreds of Russian immigrants in high-tech jobs, the SHAMIR
Kolel (Rabbinical School), and the SHAMIR Publishing House.
the demise of the Soviet of Russia, SHAMIR founded Russia’s
first post-communist Yeshiva Day School. Russian printing presses
were engaged printing classic Judaica titles in Russian such as
bilingual prayerbooks, Bibles, philosophical and literary works.
Seeds were planted for the future by SHAMIR’s sponsorship
of emissaries to the CIS, including Rabbi Berel Lazar, who has achieved
astounding success in rebuilding Jewish life as Chief Rabbi of Russia
and Head Shaliach of the Chabad movement there.
in Israel, SHAMIR activists continue to boost Jewish identity with
lectures, classes and concerts on Jewish themes throughout Israel.
Articles of Jewish interest are published weekly in the Israeli
Russian-language press, and radio and TV shows present SHAMIR’s
Jewish content programming on the immigrant channels. SHAMIR publishes
its own monthly newsletter, Shofar, that informs and inspires readers
in nearly 100 communities in Israel and abroad.
vocational counselor with client
free employment agency in Israel has served tens of thousands of
new immigrants helping them find suitable work, assisting them with
job retraining and even employing them in SHAMIR-initiated enterprises.
in Jerusalem, the SHAMIR Publishing House has produced over 400
titles in over 12,000,000 copies. This work has been fundamental
in restoring Jewish identity to millions of Jews robbed of any affiliation
to their people, faith or heritage by over 70 years of totalitarian
publications have been widely cited as a primary motivating factor
for the immigration to Israel of many tens of thousands of Russian
Russian Academy of Natural Sciences has engaged SHAMIR to create
a nine volume Encyclopedia of Russian Jewry. This work in progress
covers 1000 years of Jewish prescence on Russian territory in particular
and the Russian-Jewish contribution to world civilization in general.
volumes of this encyclopedia have already been published in Moscow
in Russian. The first volume was translated into English and published
in the USA. A team of about 250 mainly free-lance experts -- historians.
philosophers, writers and scientists -- are working in Moscow and
Jerusalem on the remaining volumes.
Latvia, SHAMIR’s community center in Riga is directed by Rabbi
Menachem Barkahan, the son of Rabbi Notte Barkahan of blessed memory,
who had been Chief Rabbi of that country. The Center sponsors clubs
for youth, women, and academicians. There
is a library, a medical clinic, and a panorama of historical and
cultural programs building bridges of tolerance and understanding
within Latvian society at large. SHAMIR has also founded the Jewish
Studies Department at the Latvian State University in Riga, and
sponsors a biennial international conference entitled “Jews
in a Changing World” with proceedings published in Russian
Russia, SHAMIR activist, Rabbi Berel Tsisin, has directed our Moscow
community center since 1984, establishing myriad activities including
kindergarten, Sunday school, adult education, a soup kitchen, care
packages, a kosher meals-on-wheels, a medical clinic, and traditional
Jewish burial instead of state-sponsored cremation. And for the
first time in eastern Moscow, a Jewish day school is in the works
the direction of Editor-in-Chief Professor Herman Branover, SHAMIR
has expanded to Hebrew and English language books as well. Most
of these titles are focused on the interplay between Faith and Science,
and include SHAMIR’s English-language peer-reviewed journal
entitled B'or HaTorah: Science, Arts & Problems of Modern Life
in the Light of the Torah. The Journal publishes the proceedings
of the biennial B’Or HaTorah Conferences at Florida International
University featuring presentations by dozens of high-ranking academic
personalities in a public forum.
In recent years, SHAMIR has partnered with the F.R.E.E. organization of New York.
diverse and dynamic activities have provided innovative ways to
develop Jewish community and consciousness in preparation for the
coming of Moshiach and the much-awaited time when “The world
will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as waters cover the sea.”
invite you to take part in our valuable work.