From Moscow to Toronto: "The Trip Was a Real Gift"
October 14, 2010 / 6 Cheshvan 5771
Five young participants from the Jewish Agency's "Kochav Nolad" (A Star is Born) project in Moscow performed in Canada this summer as guests of the Toronto Jewish community.
Kochav Nolad is a song and dance troupe modeled after the Israeli reality television show where talented new vocalists compete for the title of "Star." The Moscow troupe, however, is an educational venture that seeks to connect young Jews in the former Soviet Union to Jewish arts and culture through music and dance. The youth learn how sing and perform Jewish-inspired songs, including many Israeli pop songs.
In Toronto, the troupe performed at the city's Campaign Launch which had over 1350 participants in attendance. They subsequently performed at a UJA sponsored community BBQ at the new Lebovic campus with over 1200 in attendance, and lastly they spent Shabbat at Toronto's Russian-speaking Camp Shalom where they performed and shared some of their Jewish Russian experience with campers while enjoying a meaningful Jewish experience themselves.
For 14-year-old Michal Rosenwald, one of the Kochav Nolad participants, the experience of performing in Toronto was a highlight of the summer. Here, in her own words, she shares more about herself and Kochav Nolad.
"My name’s Michal Rosenwald and I’m 14. I was born in Israel to Russian speaking parents and moved to Moscow with my family when I was eight years old. I go to a Jewish day school and sing in the Kohav Nolad project. The Kochav Nolad family is a tightly-knit group within the Moscow Jewish community. We are about 100 people in the project, and we give about 40 concerts a year, both for the community and for non-Jewish audiences. We rehearse at the Jewish Agency youth center that is busy six days a week, and on Fridays we celebrate Shabbat. We are coached by sixteen of the best professors from Russia's most famous drama and music schools. We are professionals – that is why we get invited to perform at amazing venues… I want to tell you about our trip to Toronto this past August. We were invited by the Toronto Jewish Federation and performed three times during the visit. The first one was at the launch of the annual campaign of the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto. The second one was at a big communal BBQ, and the third one was at a Jewish camp for Russian-speaking kids. I loved this last concert in particular, as we sang in three languages, building bridges between Israel, Russia and North America.
At the first event we met the world-famous actor Dan Aykroyd. It was exciting to perform on the same stage with him. Besides appearing on stage, we visited the big synagogue, saw Niagara Falls, Toronto's downtown and its museums. This trip was a real gift to me. It is so exciting when you have a chance to show what you have learned. I really enjoyed the warm welcome and felt so at home, even though I was thousands of miles from it. I saw Jewish unity during the trip and realized that I want to be even more involved in Jewish Agency projects because they connect me to my people. It was great to see the kids from Canada, who are really just like us. I know that all of us who went on the trip felt that it was important to show the there is dynamic Jewish life in Moscow, that we learn, we grow and we have a lot to share. I realized that the world is, indeed, a small place, after all. And it makes me realize that I am not alone."