Metsuda as an annual project is divided into a selection stage and 3 educational sessions throughout the year. This year Metsuda was hold in Odessa, Kyiv and Tarkhankut promontory, which is situated in  picturesque part of Crimea peninsular with good infrastructure for Jewish events, including family summer camps. Now we were at the last session in Kharkiv city. Being more specific it was held in suburb in the woods on the shore of Pechenezhskoye reservoir storage. A wonderful landscape and rainy days both promoted effective work.

During these 7 days Metsudaers had diverse events, including developing and team building games, practical tasks, leadership and organizational development seminars as well as personal development discussions.

Lecturers were invited from Israel: representatives of famous Israeli training center Shay Dahari and Doron Atlas. In Kharkiv they lectured seminars which were proposed and selected by participants. Such specific feature was a new tool for participants to show their preparedness for self-organization. As they have heard earlier everything they needed for work, Depending on participants needs and topics which would still be needed for work in the community, participants could “order” lectures they anted to hear. And that is also why relevance of delivered knowledge is 100%. In this way Shay delivered seminar on time-management, which had a great success. There were more practical seminars and fewer games on the 4th Metsuda session. During seminars lecturers showed themselves as professional psychologists and created an opened and activating atmosphere during all 4 sessions, having their authority but keeping focus on participants’ intercommunication.

Another person who impacted uniting atmosphere was a famous Shabbat singer Uri Zer. All participants were singing and dancing with him. Participant from Kyiv Alexander Bondarenko says it was both extremely energizing and knowing Hebrew songs was useful.

Usually volunteers who are in Ukraine at the moment impact into Metsuda content. They deliver Judaism or subjects connected with Judaism, This time there was a couple of volunteers from the USA, who currently work in Kyiv and they lectured on Judaism.

Apart from teachers mentioned above, there are different professors from universities who deliver trainings on different topics at Metsuda. Natsigi teach as well. For example Amir and Oksana presented information on community mapping, fundraising, PR, etc. So Metsudaers got a wide spectrum of knowledge and experience sharing.

As this meeting was the last in the project of the year, one of its most important points was reporting of the projects current state. Participants reported their projects progress which had been planned during the second session of Metsuda in May in Kyiv and implemented later on. Indeed one of criteria for presence on the 4th Metsuda session in Kharkiv was the active stage of these project implementation. Some participants had won a contest of small grants after the 3rd Metsuda session and had 50% of budget coverage for their projects, for example Artem Shapiro and Kristina Fogel from Odessa. The small-grant fund had strict criteria and characteristics only well-planned and resources-based projects got financing from the fund. So 2 of 7 days were devoted to presenting the projects they participants. This was one of the core moments of Metsuda 2010.

Of course, another integral part of Metsuda was Kabbalat Shabbat, Havdala, Kiddush and candles lightening.

Let me make an example one insight: it was just a simple game when participants needed to come together to one place with eyes shut. Shay Dahari explains that beneath that what happened were communication, trust, unity, common responsibility, target and desire. To make a conclusion of the exercise: “don’t give up; be united with your community. Keep this feeling along your life as this is one of the things which matter” (Shay Dahari).

Apart from seminars on Metsuda concerning leadership development, which help participants to take their leading role in communities by implementing real changes on the local level, Metsuda also changes people from the inside. This might be seen on feedback sessions, and other tools which provoke behaviors change towards facing challenges, for example walking on real hot coal. It was a task in Tarkhankut promontory to go with bare feet on the real red-hot coal as well as jumping from a high precipice to the sea. In this way Metsudaers learnt to overcome their fears and to be ready for stress emotionally. On the closing feedback discussion in Kharkiv they were analyzing their changes during all Metsuda project. It was one of touching moments. Young people had self reflection about self-discipline, responsibility, respect to other people and ability to listen, overcoming inner fears, keeping promises to themselves, belief in own strengths, patience and unacceptance of disregard to other people, proactivity in communication and social life, analysis of dreams and goals.

There was a grand closing ceremony with fireworks, diplomas, concert and a disco. Such celebration showed the value of the time spent during Metsuda. Young leaders could feel themselves as graduates of a serious program, the one and only who graduated the program: 25 students during 3 educational sessions of Metsuda 2010. As a result there are young leaders who are prepared for making changes in their communities with already functioning start-ups in Jewish life.



Metsuda is a Jewish leadership development project, which functions in different countries, but has different names. Metsuda is called this way because of meaning “grains” in Hebrew. There are general strict rules at Metsuda, which makes this project valuable for local Jewish community.

  • Lecturers from Israel
  • Shabbat, Kiddush and Havdala celebration
  • Kosher food
  • Hebrew songs
  • Non alcohol event
  • Obligatory presence at all sections of Metsuda
  • Obligatory projects implementation throughout the working year
  • Strict selection
  • Participants personally cover their transport costs; also they have financial responsibility by giving fee and advance payment.

Photos by Sergey Popov.

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