First Jewish University to Open in Russia

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The Chabad-affiliated Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia is opening what it is calling Russia’s first Jewish university.

Modeled after Yeshiva University in the United States, The Jewish University of Moscow is a private institution with a student body of 200 whose budget comes mostly from donors and the Federation, dean Alexander Lebedev told JTA earlier this week. It will open next month.

The university — whose faculties include economics, law, humanities and Jewish studies – comprises two existing Jewish community colleges: Institute XXI Century for men and Institute Machon CHaMeSH for women. Their reconstitution as campuses of a single, state-recognized university is a first in Russian history, according to Lebedev.

In the new institution, “students will have the possibility to observe Torah, kosher food, Jewish holidays and Shabbat,” he said. The Jewish University of Moscow “will keep this format of education, like Yeshiva University, to become the one strong recognizable brand” in its field, he added.

Most of the 200 students who will begin studying in the university when it opens are on a scholarship paid by the donors and the federation led Rabbi Alexander Boroda and Berel Lazar, a chief rabbi of Russia. Many of the students will also live in the dormitories of the new facility, which is located in northern Moscow.

An additional 10,000 students will receive educational services by the university remotely, organizers asserted.

Lebedev declined to name his institution’s initial budget.

“Our goal is to create the first university in our country where students will be able to obtain high-quality higher professional, academic and religious education,” Boroda told InterFax.

Separately, a kosher and vegetarian supermarket opened near the main synagogue of St. Petersburg this month. The new store is the second affiliate of the Kosher Gourmet store in Moscow, owned by Ilan Ostrobrod, the St. Petersburg Jewish News reported Tuesday.

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