June 7, 2012 / 17 Sivan 5772
Chisinau -- Over 400 young Jews from Moldova and the southern region of Ukraine will come together in the city of Chisinau, June 7-10, for the first Limmud FSU (former Soviet Union) conference in Moldova. Limmud FSU is a festival of Jewish learning featuring a packed program of lectures, workshops, round-table discussions, music and a wide-range of cultural events.
The conference is being held in Moldova where today, more than 22,000 Jews live, with about 15,000 Jews concentrated in the capital. For more than 100 years, Chisinau (formerly known by its Russian name of Kishinev) has been known in Jewish history for the rich Jewish history. Today, this once remote part of the former Russian Empire is the vibrant capital of the newly independent Republic of Moldova, with a once-again vibrant Jewish community.
The entire conference and its content are organized by a team of local volunteers and a programming committee. The conference will include over 40 lectures, presentations, cultural performances, workshops, excursions and round-table discussions, in the best Limmud FSU traditions. Among the presenters will be prominent historians, scientists, artists, politicians, businessmen, educators and musicians from Israel, USA and the FSU. The participants will also have the opportunity to meet the Prime Minister of Moldova, Vlad Filat.
An interesting part of the conference will be when Matthew Bronfman, the chair of the International Steering Committee for Limmud FSU, will visit Ataki in Moldova, where the Bronfman family lived before his grandfather, Samuel Bronfman, immigrated to Canada at the end of the 19th Century. Matthew will represent his family and attend a ceremony, where he will be awarded as an honorary citizen by the city’s mayor.
Participants at the conference will also get to meet Baron Arthur Cherar, the leader of Gypsys around the world who is also known as the “The Gypsy King”. Cherar lives in a town called Soroki in Moldova which is known as the Gypsy capital of the world and contains the largest gypsy community. Baron Cherar will speak about the relationship between Jews and Gypsys and the common history that they shared, including the Holocaust where Jews and Gypsys were both persecuted by the Nazis.
The Limmud phenomenon began in Britain nearly 32 years ago and is now a world-famous educational movement. Limmud FSU, founded six years ago by Chaim Chesler, former head of JAFI’s delegation in the FSU, and Sandra Cahn, a philanthropist from New York, supports and reinforces Jewish education and identity to Jews from the FSU, the U.S. and Israel. This unique conference, like all Limmud events, is organized and run entirely by volunteers.