Yes, you read the subject correctly. I am going to Siberia. No, no, I am not going to a gulag and the temperature isn’t -30 degrees. I am going with a group of young professionals on a trip organized by the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) to Khabarovsk. Michael actually tells me it is further east than Siberia and is in a region considered the Far East. The city is 20 miles from the border with China, 4000 miles from Moscow (LA to NY is about 2,500 miles), about a nine hour flight and seven time zones away. You can look at the map to see how far Moscow is from Khabarovsk. The current temperature there is in the high 80’s. The trip highlights include: service work with the local Jewish community helping them re-establish Jewish life after decades of communist rule; a Shabbaton at a Summer Retreat Center outside of the city; meeting and spending time with local peers; and a day trip to the nearby city of Birobidjan (the administrative center of Russia’s Jewish Autonomous Oblast).
The trip begins in ten days. You may be asking yourself how this happens? Who plans a trip to Siberia on ten days notice? Well, it is all thanks to my dear friend, Julia. She is one of those people who is connected to everyone in the Jewish/Cornell world. She has close to 3,000 Facebook friends! Not only is she well connected, but everyone loves her and she is one of those people who if she says she will help you out, she always comes through. There was a last minute cancellation on the trip and the JDC offered her the spot. She has worked closely with them before and they have a great working relationship. She has a work commitment and is unable to attend, so she made a strong case for me to get the spot. Thanks to Julia, they offered it to me! I am off on another adventure.
I will be sure to blog about my experience!
From Russia with Love,