Jewish Family Services has presented University of Richmond Hillel with its inaugural Community Partner Award.

The chapter was honored for its work with JFS on “Draw Back the Curtain,” a full-length documentary that relates the stories of 800 Jews from the former Soviet Union who settled in Richmond starting in 1989. The film will premiere Nov. 10 at the Modlin Center for the Arts.

“The project mobilized faculty and staff from departments around campus to document, preserve and tell the stories,” said Andrew Goodman, director of Jewish life and campus rabbi. Goodman, Richmond president Ed Ayers, and the Rev. Craig Kocher, university chaplain, received the award on behalf of Hillel May 22.

The project extended beyond the documentary, Goodman said. Stories and photos from the project are now housed in the university’s archives, and a museum studies class curated an exhibition of photos and artifacts collected during two and a half years of work. Also a Russian culture class helped conduct research and interviews, and the university’s digital archives collected and preserved everything from the project.

For more information about the project, go to

Hillel is a student organization dedicated to nurturing the lives of Jewish students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world.

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