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In 2002, the children of the Soviet Jewish immigration were just beginning to break through to the American popular consciousness: Lenny Krayzelburg, Gary (Igor) Shteyngart… They were just like us, the same background, immigration journey, and complex cocktail of mixed identities. It occurred to some of us: Who else is out there? And wouldn't it be interesting to network together and unite this community? People would meet, couples would form, friendships be forged, businesses started, ideas exchanged. The possibilities seemed tremendous, important, and exciting.

Thus, the ‘79ers’ were formed in San Francisco, where the founders lived at the time, but the emails poured in from all over the country. Some were more or less "Russian," some more or less "Jewish," whatever that meant to people at the time, but everyone was excited to be part of the collective. 

While the informal network was tremendous, we quickly realized that to truly sustain and nurture the community we needed to create our own grassroots organization. It had to be run by us and for us, with our own vision and direction. So, when some of the core organizers moved to New York, the sheer numbers of ex-Soviet Jewish young adults eager to have a community organization of their own were unified and RJeneration was born in New York City, with generous partnerships, resources and funding from Makor, JCRC and the UJA.

Very quickly RJeneration started offering Shabbat dinners, social gatherings, literary readings, and film screenings that attracted several hundred active members and a rapidly growing mailing list.

In recent years, RJeneration has expanded significantly, both in number or participants and program offerings, as we grow and mature along with our long standing members, and acquire new members across age groups and geographies of the NY area. Through our newsletters and social media presence we now embrace over 3,000 Russian-speaking Jews in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, a dedicated Board of Directors, and a committed volunteer Programming Committee that creates and produces an ongoing calendar of events and special projects, generously supported by Genesis Philanthropy Group, the UJA-Federation of NY, COJECO, and the JCRC.

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