Twelve talented candidates from around the former Soviet Union competed in Kiev, Ukraine, this week in the “Hallelujah” contest, a global Hebrew singing competition for Jewish talent.
For the first time, the international competition, an initiative of the World Forum of Russian-speaking Jews, the World Zionist Organization and the Hallelujah Organization, was held in the former Soviet Union.
The songs in the competition were by prominent Hebrew poets, including Chaim Nachman Bialik, Shaul Tchernichovsky, Natan Yonatan, Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky, and Rachel Bluwstein.
The winner was Maria Katzav Mikaterenberg, who’s studying voice in a local College in the Ukraine. In second and third place were Yelena Geleckson from Voronezh and Elana Levine from Penza.
WFRJ was established in January 2012 during the United Nations conference marking International Holocaust Day by a group of Jewish businessmen and philanthropists from the Former Soviet Union, all of whom served as community leaders of Russian-speaking Jews in the United States, Canada, Germany and the Ukraine.
The organization works to strengthen the bond of Russian-speaking Jews in the Diaspora with Israel. The president is Alexander Levin, an American-Ukrainian businessman and philanthropist who is also head of the Jewish community of Kiev.