New Blog for Russian Jewish Youth Debuts at the Jewish Daily Forward

By: Press Release | For the Forward

NEW YORK,– Blognik Beat, a new group blog written for – and by – Jewish high-school and university students with recent roots in the former Soviet Union, has launched on, the website of the Jewish Daily Forward.

The blog, published in English, will include observations on identity, arts, culture, religion and politics from the viewpoints of recent immigrants and second-generation Russian speakers. The project was created by The Forward, America’s only independent national Jewish news organization, and the Genesis Philanthropy Group.

“The arrival of Russian-speaking Jews in the United States, Israel, Canada and Germany in the past 30 years has greatly enriched these Jewish communities,” observed Samuel Norich, publisher and executive director of The Forward. “And there is a remarkable revival of Jewish life in Russia itself. These Jews, though scattered across three continents, share a distinct identity and have unique perspectives. Blognik Beat will be their new online community.”

Ilia Salita, executive director of Genesis Philanthropy Group in North America, said, “Thanks to their parents’ and grandparents’ intelligence and determination, a generation of young Russian-speaking Jews, here in North America and around the world, inherits a vibrant set of Jewish values and rich historical narrative. Blognik Beat gives voice to these young people, an important voice that should be heard as they shape their identity and build their communities in the diverse modern world.”

The editor of the new blog, Maia Efrem, who has been working at The Forward since 2010, lived in the Abkhazia region of the republic of Georgia during the final years of the Soviet Union. Her family, offered refuge in Israel from the anti-Semitism of the civil war in Georgia, emigrated and finally settled in Queens, New York. Maia is a graduate of Hunter College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Genesis Philanthropy Group’s mission is to develop and enhance a sense of Jewish identity among Russian-speaking Jews worldwide. Some three million Russian-speaking Jews reside in the former Soviet Union, North America and Israel, the countries particularly targeted by GPG. It seeks to ensure that Jewish culture, heritage, and values are preserved in Russian-speaking Jewish communities across the globe.

The Forward is widely regarded as American Jewry’s essential, independent news organization, delivering incisive coverage of the issues, ideas and institutions that matter to American Jews with rigorous, unbiased reporting and balanced, thoughtful commentary on news, politics, arts and culture. Its journalistic excellence is recognized by colleagues in and outside the Jewish community: In 2011 alone, The Forward won an unprecedented 13 Simon Rockower Awards from the American Jewish Press Association, plus two first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and two first place awards from the Community Press Alliance.

The Forward’s Webby Award-winning website,, has new, original content every weekday, and offers a daily newsletter, The Forward Today; a new commentary blog, Forward Thinking; and a new channel, The Yiddish Scene. It also presents multimedia content including blogs, podcasts, videos and more on a wide (and growing) variety of topics engaging Jews across a broad spectrum of affiliation and observance.

The Forward occupies a unique position of independence as a non-profit news organization, beholden to no institution, denomination or political faction.

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