Leviev cuts back on schools

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 17, 2008

The largest Jewish education network in Europe is to cut back as a result of the global financial crisis.

Or Avner, founded by billionaire Lev Leviev, is to "rationalise" operations due to a shortfall in donations.

Operating more than 100 Jewish schools in Russia, the former Soviet Union, Germany, Israel and the US, it is planning to cut back particularly in places where there are only small communities and little Jewish activity.

Or Avner, named for Mr Leviev's father, works together with the Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS, the most powerful Jewish organisation in Russia and its representatives.

The Israeli government and the Jewish Agency have also cut the budget of Heftziba, its school programme in the CIS.

"They have no choice now but to look at places where they have invested money in the past," a senior educator in Russia told the JC, "and decide where they haven't been effective and close things down there."

A spokesman for Mr Leviev said: "Mr Leviev does not intend to stop contributing and acting to ensure the future of Jewish education in the diaspora, even at a more limited level due to the global financial situation over the next few months."

Last updated: 2:28pm, October 16 2008