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Founder and Executive Director

Ilana Volodarsky arrived in St. Paul from the former Soviet Union in 1989. She holds a dual degree from the University of Minnesota in Business Management and Sales Marketing.  Ilana is the Founder and Executive Director of the Russian American Jews of Minnesota (RAJMN) organization, which initiated in 2003. RAJMN is the only Jewish-Russian program for young families, young adults, and teens in Minnesota, working to connect them to the larger Jewish community and providing a deeper understanding of Russian-Jewish roots and culture. RAJMN programs and events held throughout the year to celebrate Jewish and Russian culture, and also serves as a bridge to other Jewish organizations, connecting Russian-American Jews to synagogues, Jewish schools, programs in Israel, Jewish summer camps and other programs as needed. RAJMN works in partnership with all local Jewish Agencies in creating programs to integrate RSJ in Jewish life and provides international educational opportunities and scholarship funding for RAJMN teen and adult program participants. Over the past 18 years, RAJMN has organized more than 400 events. Ilana is fully responsible for financing and program development of RAJMN. In 2016, Ilana created the RAJMN Teen Fellowship to serve as a year-long initiative with the main goal to connect RSJ generations, pass on history, traditions and culture from generation to generation. Teen participants have monthly guest speakers covering various Jewish topics such as Israel, Holocaust, Jewish History, art, music, and have the opportunity to attend various Jewish conferences. Ilana mentors various communities in the US and is a consultant for new projects/programs for the RSJ population in addition to providing educational sessions and seminars on Russian Jewish Culture. Ilana is a graduate of “Centropa Summer Academy” in Berlin and also served on the Host Committee for JDC Global Symposium for the Midwest Region. Ilana was a part of the organizing committee for Limmud FSU East and West Coast Conferences.

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