Yahad, Bringing Estonia’s Jewish Community Together

November 18, 2015

Source: eJewish Philanthropy


The ninth annual Jewish forum, “Yahad” (“All Together”) took place in Pärnu, Estonia on October 9-11, 2015. It was one of the most exciting community events of the year, which gathered Jewish people of all ages and from all across the country. Four hundred and seventy people have participated in Yahad 2015, among them around 70 children. This year, the traditional format of the Yahad forum was maintained with lectures, concerts, discussions, workshops and classes for children available during the course of the forum. At any given time during the forum’s program, there were numerous scheduled events taking place simultaneously, and participants were able to choose which topic is the most interesting to them.


This year at Yahad, there were events dedicated to Jewish culture and traditions, art, history, psychology, economics, health, politics and more. For example, this year Julia Patrakova gave lectures about Jewish artists and writers. Elsewhere, there was training for young parents, and other creative workshops. The children’s program was equally varied. Every day there were artistic workshops, dance and music classes, and other educative and entertaining activities organized by the group of young madrichim from the Jewish Community of Estonia.


Local and international speakers from Israel, Russia, the United States, Germany, Latvia, and Lithuania led educational lectures, seminars, and round tables. All lectures and seminars were conducted in three languages: Estonian, Russian, and English. Every day, there were also concerts and movie nights, which introduced forum participants to Jewish cinema and music.


Other highlights of “Yahad 2015” included the Havdalah ceremony, which had a truly sacramental and spiritual atmosphere and a remarkable performance from the Israeli virtuoso violinist Sanya Kroitor. The Forum was capped by an impressive fireworks display in the night sky over Pärnu.


By way of background, our Jewish community, as it exists today, was restructured after the Second World War; the work completed by the end of 1992 was the decision to create a single umbrella organization called the Jewish Community of Estonia (JCE). According to its statutes, the JCE will carry on the traditions of the pre-war Jewish Cultural Council. Today, it includes all Jewish societies and groups, both religious and secular, amongst them the Social Welfare Centre, the Maccabi sport clubs, the Association of Jewish Youth and Students and the Jewish Veterans Union.


Nowadays, the Jewish Community of Estonia is a very active and rapidly expanding organization. More than 1500 people are now members of JCE. The Jewish community aims to provide a valuable Jewish life for each member: children, youth, students, the middle-aged, and seniors. On September 8, 2013, we opened a kindergarten. Named AVIV, the kindergarten is for children aged one and half years to seven years-of-age. As of today, we have inducted four classes and more than fifty hildren.

Read more at eJewish Philanthropy.

Updated: Dec. 09, 2015