Over the last 20 years  many Jews have left the FSU and settled in Israel, with the rest in the US, Germany, Australia and other countries around the world.  These immigrants no matter where they have settled share some common factors.  Many of them lack a clear Jewish identity; many have intermarried, they have little if any Jewish education, and feel little connection to Jewish values and the State of Israel.  In Israel, the result is that many immigrants from the FSU have difficulties integrating into Israeli society and have trouble identifying themselves as Israelis and as Jews.  In other countries, only a minority develop a connection to the established Jewish community, and the majority are lost to the assimilation process already begun in the Soviet Union.

Machanaim, was established in the Soviet Union in the 1970’s as an underground educational center.  With the move to Israel in the late 1980’s, after years of refusal, the leadership of the organization recognized that their experience in Jewish education and that their open minded attitude would be crucial in creating a vital link between the hundreds of thousands of Russian immigrants pouring into Israel and Israeli society.  Over the years, Machanaim has created a variety of programs that address issues of Jewish and Israeli identity in Israel, as well as a series of programs and materials aimed at assisting Russian speaking Jewish immigrants around the world to connect with their Jewish identity.  Our aspiration is that these immigrants will be connected to their Jewish heritage, and the Jewish community wherever they are and to the State of Israel.