Wednesday, September 3, 2008

First Bell, First Shofar Blow for Donetsk School

DONETSK, Ukraine – Just like tens of thousands of schools spanning the Former Soviet Union, one remarkable school got off to a good start this week in Donetsk. The Ohr Avner Chabad Day School hosted a celebration for the Day of Knowledge and the start of the new study year, involving teachers, pupils and their family members.

Mrs. Dina Vyshedsky spoke to a healthy crowd, welcoming everyone and congratulating them on this day. She underlined how this particular day is significant, not only in relation to the children commencing their studies, but also for the fact that this year, the event fell on the first day of Elul. The shofar also sounded for the first time, signifying that this was the day that everyone would begin to get ready for Rosh Hashanah.

The event proceeded into the more traditional elements of this holiday, with the first-graders stealing the show amongst all the pupils. On this occasion, the teachers also took pride in announcing the top students from the previous year’s studies. Indeed it was a happy day for the most academically inclined, as several of them were presented with their own personal computer as a reward for their achievements.

The Ohr Avner Chabad Day School of Donetsk belongs to what is certainly the largest Jewish educational network operating in the CIS and Baltic states. Sponsored by the Ohr Avner Foundation, this institution was founded and continues to be supported thanks to the financial support of FJC President Lev Leviev and his wife Olga. The generosity of these two individuals is fueling a whole generation with a Jewish upbringing and knowledge that was nearly completely lost under the Soviet regime.

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