The second Limmud FSU Volga-Urals conference of Russian-speaking Jews took place this weekend in the Muslim Russian republic of Kazan. Some 600 participants, including Tatar and Muslim leaders, Kazan Jewish communal leaders, Russian and Israeli cultural figures, Israeli politicians and religious leaders, IDF generals and American donors were present.
Like last year, the weekend began with the Kazan annual Jewish music festival, headlined by the Israeli band, The Shuk.
The Conference featured more than 100 sessions on a broad range of topics including the Russian economy; balancing national security and press freedom; Israel and global instability; and a roundtable on Israeli-Russian trade featuring the Honorary Limmud FSU Volga-Urals Conference Chair and Chair of the Israeli-Russian Business Council, Timor Khikhinashvili; Limmud FSU President Aaron Frenkel; Limmud FSU International Steering Committee Chair Matthew Bronfman; and local business leaders.
This was the second Limmud conference in Kazan, the capital of the Russian Republic of Tatarstan, where more than 10,000 Jews currently live. Its century-old synagogue was returned to the Jewish community in 1996. The restoration of the synagogue, which had fallen into disrepair after it was taken over by Soviet authorities, was rededicated last year during a series of events tied to the first Limmud FSU Volga-Urals program.
Limmud FSU was founded 10 years ago by Chaim Chesler, former treasurer of The Jewish Agency, and Sandra Cahn, a philanthropist from New York. Since its inaugural conference in Moscow in 2006, Limmud FSU has created an independent educational and communal network of annual conferences and festivals, attracting more than 35,000 participants in Russia (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Birobidzhan and Kazan), Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Israel, North America (Greater New York, the West Coast, and Canada) and Australia.
Photos courtesy Limmud FSU and eJP Archives