April 18, 2012 / 26 Nissan 5772
The Seventh Limmud FSU conference for Russian-speaking Jews is taking place in the Klyzma resort hotel near Moscow, from 19 to 22 April. One of the central themes will focus on Russia as a society undergoing change, both in general and in particular for its Jewish citizens. Limmud FSU conferences are considered to be the most prestigious of Jewish cultural events in the former Soviet Union and one thousand participants have already signed-up for this the largest ever Limmud event in the Former Soviet Union.
Chaim Chesler, the founder of Limmud FSU, says that the event in Moscow is the flagship of the program which takes place today in six countries – Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, USA and Israel - says; “Our dream was to present to the new generation of young Russian-speaking Jews throughout the world, topics which are close to their hearts and excite their imagination, such as Jewish history and culture, Jewish roots and issues of identity, the Holocaust, and subjects relating to achieving success in life both in economic and cultural terms. Evidently the dream has become a reality and promises that the coming event will be yet another memorable occasion.”
The Limmud FSU conference in Moscow is the first event of six this year. It will be followed by one in Princeton University centering on the life and work of Albert Einstein; a first conference in Chişenău (Kishinev), the capital of Moldova, in June; another will take place in Upper Nazareth in the Galilee in July following the Olympic games and which will celebrate Jewish achievements in the realm of sport and the successful absorption of Russian immigrants to Israeli. A second Limmud FSU in St. Petersburg will take place in September, followed by one in Uzhgorod, Ukraine and another in Munkács on the Ukrainian-Hungarian border and a pre-war major center of Hassidism.
A wide variety of lectures, workshops, round-table discussions and presentations will take place simultaneously in eight different halls. Among the many subjects are “The State of Israel – a Land of Minorities”, “Was Nikita Khruschev Anti-Semitic”, “Feminism in Judaism”, “Jewish motives in non-Jewish movies”, “The poetry of Yehuda Amichai and Uri Zvi Greenberg”, and much more besides. To whet the appetite, there will be discussions on Jewish cuisine, as well as workshops on Jewish crafts, Jewish dance and music, Bible and Talmud, yoga sessions, movie screenings and Shabbat eve celebrations. Among prominent presenters will be Sopha Landver, Israel’s Minister of Immigrant Absorption, MK Alex Miller, Chair of the Knesset Education and Culture Committee, MK Carmel Shama-Hacohen Chairman of the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee, and Dorit Golender, Israel’s Ambassador to the Russian Federation.
Like all Limmud FSU events, all the arrangements and administration are in the hands of volunteers. The Moscow Steering Committee is Alexander Piyatagorsky (Chair), Dima Mariasis, Moshe Libkin, and Genia Malkina. The conference is supported by most of the major Jewish organizations, such as the Conference for Jewish Material Claims against Germany, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Jewish Agency, Nativ (the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office), the Dutch Foundation, and the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress.
Limmud FSU’s International Steering Committee is chaired by industrialist Matthew Bronfman; other prominent members are the two cofounders, the philanthropist Sandra Cahn of New York and Michael Chlenov, President of the Federation of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Russia (Vaad) and Secretary-General of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress; as well as leading private philanthropists such as Dr Nona International and Diana Wohl of New York, among several others.