Adapting: The War in Ukraine and Jewish Education

The Jewish Education Project

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Logo for Adapting The Future of Jewish Education

Leonard Petlakh, Executive Director of the Kings Bay Y and JCC Brooklyn, speaks with David Bryfman about how educators can navigate the complex contours of the conflict in Ukraine.

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Leonard Petlakh

What should Jewish educators be teaching students and families about Ukraine and its complex Jewish past during this time of war? Leonard Petlakh, Executive Director of the Kings Bay Y and JCC Brooklyn, speaks with David Bryfman about how educators can navigate the complex contours of this conflict. Hear about Leonard’s trip to Ukraine in October 2021 and his vision for a time when we can start proactively educating about Jewish life in Ukraine and the former Soviet Union and the vibrancy of Russian Jewish culture.

Below: Check out pictures from Leonard Petlakh's 2021 trip to Kyiv and Odessa, Ukraine. Leonard traveled to Ukraine on a trip sponsored by the Assembly of the Ukrainian Diasporas. Photos courtesy of Leonard Petlakh.

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Choral Synagogue Kyiv

Above: Leonard Petlakh visited the Brodsky Synagogue in Kyiv, Ukraine in October 2021 with nonprofit and government leaders from New York.  

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The Babyn Yar Memorial in Kyiv, Ukraine

Above: The Menorah outside the Babyn Yar Memorial in Kyiv, Ukraine in October 2021. Russian missiles damaged a Jewish cemetery in Babyn Yar on Tuesday, March 1, 2022.             

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People in Kyiv, Ukraine in October 2021

Above: Leonard Petlakh's group met with members of the local Jewish community in Kyiv October 2021  

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Odessa, Ukraine Picture

Above: Leonard Petlakh traveled to Odessa, Ukraine with nonprofit and government leaders from New York in October 2021 

For more resources on the crisis in Ukraine, see our Curated Resource Collection


This episode was produced by Dina Nusnbaum and Gabriel Weinstein.  The show’s executive producers are David Bryfman, Karen Cummins, and Nessa Liben. This episode was engineered and edited by Nathan J. Vaughan of NJV Media.  If you enjoyed the show, please leave us a 5-star rating on Apple Podcasts or even better, share it with a friend. Be sure to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts and be the first to know when new episodes are released.

To learn more about The Jewish Education Project visit jewishedproject.org where you can find links to our Jewish Educator Portal and learn more about our mission, history, and staff. We are a proud partner of UJA-Federation of New York.