The Project Kesher records document the operations, activities, and programs of Project Kesher, an organization founded in 1989 in support of Jewish renewal throughout the former Soviet Union. Materials include correspondence, notes, printed and bound materials, press clippings, photographs, audiovisual materials, and born digital media. The bulk of the materials are in English, with some in Russian and Hebrew. The materials date from 1988-2015, with the bulk of materials dating from 1989-2012.
The extensive documentation of Project Kesher’s programming work forms the core of the collection, arranged in Series 2: Events and Programs. Of particular note are the records of the International Conference of Jewish Women, which took place in Kiev in 1994. This conference was a landmark event both for Project Kesher and for Jewish women in the NIS (Newly Independent States), and the records include pre-conference planning and outreach, correspondence, programs, press coverage, post-conference feedback from attendees, photographs, and a video filmed of the event. Also of note in the program records are the various iterations of the Women’s Exchange programs, Mother/Daughter Retreats, Torah Return Project visits, and KesherNet computer center openings.
Project Kesher’s fundraising activities are also well represented throughout the collection, in both Series 1: Administrative Records and Series 3: Collaborator Files. These materials include budgets, expense records, marketing brochures, fundraising event records, and grant applications and reports. The collaborator files in particular highlight the fundraising work done with various organizations, foundations, and individual donors. Other administrative records of note include the documentation of Board activities from 1989-2012, which offer unique insight into Project Kesher’s operations, and the extensive files of correspondence, mainly from Project Kesher’s two founders, Sallie Gratch and Svetlana Yakimenko.
The Project Kesher records provide clear documentation of the administrative, programming, and fundraising operations of the organization and offer valuable insight into the process of Jewish renewal throughout the former Soviet Union, particularly in the context of women’s lives. The collection is one of several Jewish feminist collections at Brandeis University.