Tag Archives: Havayah

Ilana Pavlotsky

Ballroom Dancing and Bat Mitzvah Blackout: A Conversation with Ilana Pavlotsky

Ilana Pavlotsky is a junior at Needham High School and recently returned from traveling to Ukraine on Havayah, a fellowship run by Prozdor for teens from Boston, Haifa, and Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, to run 10 days of programming for Jewish elementary school students there. Ilana, who comes from a Ukrainian family herself, is a passionate ballroom dancer and active at Temple Beth Avodah in Newton. Before she left, we spoke with her… Read Article →


Our last moments in Dnep

On our last day in Dnepropetrovsk we had lunch with Rabbi Kaminetsky and Zelig Brez at the Menorah Center. After such a whirlwind of a week the lunch was a fitting way to end our Havayah experience. I found many parts of this trip trying and difficult and along with everyone else, I had many questions. We heard stories from both the Rabbi and Zelig about Antisemitism that left me… Read Article →


Havayah: Wondering What Comes Next

I begin this entry while in the Dnepropetrovsk airport waiting for our flight to Vienna. We bid a tearful goodbye to our Israeli counterparts last night, and today we are in tears again as “our Ukrainians” see us off. The past week has brought up a great range of emotions in every Havayah member, myself included. We’ve gone from great exuberance to deep sadness to, yes, moments of personal discomfort…. Read Article →


Shavua Tov

Shavua tov from Dnep!! This morning, we slept in and woke up to a lovely, carb filled breakfast; complete with traditional Ukrainian cheese and blintzes. We then took the Shabbos elevator down to the ground floor to Shacharit services with the rest of the Jewish community. Three hours later, post services, we all ventured to our respective assigned homes for Shabbat lunch! Myself, Rachel, Jacob, and three other girls were… Read Article →


Dnep Today

Today was an emotional rollercoaster. We started the day with an incredible breakfast of pancakes and cinnamon buns. Then, we made our way to the Karavan mall, which was closed at the time, which resulted in some whining and discontent. It was only made better by an extremely fun and embarrassing kiddie train ride. Luckily, everything opened and we got our shopping done. Afterwards, we visited Beit Baruch: a Jewish… Read Article →


Shabbat Anecdote

Tonight was a very special night for all of the Havayah participants. The Kabbalat Shabbat service was very powerful and helped me connect more with the kids from Haifa and Dnepropetrovsk. There was one moment that really stood out in my mind and I will take with me back to Boston. After saying the Amidah, all of the kids put their arms around each other while singing Oseh Shalom. When… Read Article →


Today in Dnep

We were woken up by the Israelis and enjoyed a very Ukrainian breakfast in the Menorah Center. Then we hopped on the bus and crossed the Dnep river in order to experience Beit Hanna, the women’s teaching college, and the ERC or the Educational Resource center for children with disabilities. When we arrived, the principal who has been volunteering there for 16 years, talked to us about the start of… Read Article →


An Anecdote from Davida’s Day

Today in class one of the boys grabbed my hand from behind and gave me a big hug. I was very surprised, but happy, because we had found a way to communicate through the language barrier. He pulled me over to where the teacher had put out apples and pointed until I took one. Then he sat next to me until I had eaten the whole thing. Later he was… Read Article →


Thoughts on “the Situation”

Today was another busy, long, and educational day. We started the day with a tour around the Holocaust museum in the Menorah Center. Moving, is an understatement to describe our experience in the museum. Following the tour we met Rabbi Kaminetski, the head Rabbi of Dnepropetrovsk. His office is on the top floor, which is fitting because it is on the 18th floor, which in Hebrew stands for Chai (life)…. Read Article →

Visitors arrive at the newly opened Jewish Menorah Center in Dnipropetrovsk

Hello from Michael!

Privyet from the old country! Today was quite a day. Upon waking up we made our way through the beautiful Menorah Center to eat a fancy, yet light, breakfast. As we reflected on the day at the end of the day we all agreed that breakfast was the best meal so far. We then got to see the most magnificent ballroom. The floor was flawless and there were incredible crystal… Read Article →