Reuven Stanov, Schechter Institute for Jewish Studies: Conservative Judaism movement to establish first community in Ukraine

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Conservative Judaism movement to establish first community in Ukraine

Ukrainian-Reuven Stanov, 38, is accredited by the Schechter Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem as part of its program of preparing Conservative rabbis as spiritual leaders.

Source: Haaretz, 2-5-12

Sunday morning, when Reuven Stanov was accredited as a rabbi, the Conservative movement moved one step closer to realizing a mission it describes as almost messianic: building the first Conservative Jewish community in the Commonwealth of Independent States.

The Ukrainian-born Stanov, 38, was accredited by the Schechter Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem Sunday as part of its program of preparing Conservative rabbis as spiritual leaders.

conservative rabbi Ukrainian-born Stanov, 38, being accredited as a Conservative rabbi by the Schechter Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem.
Photo by: Avi Hayun

Stanov was recruited eight years ago when he worked in one of the movement’s summer camps in the Ukraine and brought to Israel to be trained as a rabbi. The plan was that he would eventually return to the Ukraine to help establish a Conservative Jewish presence there. At the end of this month he and his family will indeed be heading back to Kiev to set up the first Conservative movement center in the Ukraine, as well as the first Conservative synagogue, clubs for youth and adults, an ulpan for learning Hebrew and for strengthening Jewish identity and links to Israel.

Stanov is a Cinderella story of the Conservative world. He grew up completely ignorant of Israel and his only link to Judaism at home was the eating of matza during Passover. His first chance exposure to religious activity and Zionism occurred during university studies when he signed up for one of the youth clubs run by Jewish students from the Conservative movement, after being brought there by a friend. He rose through the ranks of the movement’s summer camps and was eventually recruited for rabbinical studies in Israel.

“I plan to create a community from people who studied at the (Conservative afternoon) schools in the Ukraine. We have a good foundation for a community in Kiev, and I hope we can eventually branch out to other cities,” says Stanov….READ MORE

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