Meet Vadim Kashtelvan

Vadim Kashtelyan was just a toddler when he and his family arrived in Baltimore from St. Petersburg.

Although too young to remember much, Vadim understood that like many Soviet immigrants, his family knew little about their religion and Jewish heritage.

As newcomers to Baltimore, the Kashtelyans turned to The Associated, which helped them furnish their apartment and settle in. Jewish Big Brother Big Sister League (a program of Jewish Community Services) assigned Vadim’s family a Big Brother who took them to synagogue and became the first person to open their eyes to Jewish life. The family became members of the synagogue where Vadim attended religious school. He later joined the Diller Teen Fellows program and went to Jewish day school.

These experiences, as well as several trips to Israel and a return to the former Soviet Union twice—first to St. Petersburg with this family in 2005 and second as part of The Associated’s Baltimore-Odessa Partnership Leadership Mission in 2013—shaped Vadim’s Jewish commitment.

Today Vadim lives in Moishe House, located in Baltimore City. Moishe House, designed to provide meaningful Jewish experiences to young adults in their 20s, is a partnership with The Associated. He and his two housemates plan approximately five events each month, from Shabbat dinners to Israeli nights to Chanukah events for Jewish young adults.

“My parents had a vision that I would grow up knowing my Jewish identity and that has certainly been accomplished,” he says. “This is why they chose America.”



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