More than 800 Russian-speaking Israelis Celebrated at Limmud FSU Kinneret

Photo by Andrey Deveykin

More than 800 Russian-speaking Israelis between 20 and 40 years old, many with their children, gathered Dec. 11-13 for Limmud FSU’s Festival of the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) at Kibbutz Ginosar. The event was held in collaboration with the Jordan Valley Regional Council, and with the support of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, the Israeli Ministry of Absorption, the Jewish National Fund, and others. Limmud FSU’s Festival of the Sea of Galilee, which included many first-time participants, celebrated the Zionist poet Rachel Bluwstein, known as Rachel the Poetess (Rachel HaMeshosheret in Hebrew). Rachel was born in Saratov, Russia, then lived and worked in the Galilee. She is considered the founding mother of modern Hebrew poetry by women. At the opening event on Dec. 11, an … [Read more...]

Limmud FSU Kinneret Opens Today at Kibbutz Ginosar

Limmud FSU Israel 2014

Some 800 Russian-speaking Israelis between 20 and 40 years old, many with their children, will come together today for Limmud FSU’s Kinneret Festival at Kibbutz Ginosar. The 3-day event is being held in collaboration with the Jordan Valley Regional Council. Limmud FSU Kinneret celebrates the Zionist poet Rachel Bluwstein, known as Rachel the Poetess, who was born in Saratov, Russia, then lived and worked in the Galilee. She is considered the founding mother of modern Hebrew poetry by women. At today's opening event an original musical based on Rachel’s songs and produced by the “Beit Zvi” acting school will debut. Israeli musician and singer Marina Maximilian will also perform. The volunteer-run festival will include workshops, tours, exhibitions, cultural events and lectures on art, … [Read more...]

Former Prisoner of Zion Yosef Mendelevitch Makes Emotional Return to the City Where He Was Arrested

Photo by Roman Yanushevsky, ourtesy of Limmud FSU.

St. Petersburg, Russia, Nov. 30 - Former Prisoner of Zion Yosef Mendelevitch made an emotional return to the city where he was imprisoned in the 1970s to join hundreds of Jews from across Russia for the 4th Annual Limmud FSU program in St. Petersburg this weekend. The three-day Jewish learning festival featured a packed program of lectures, workshops, round-table discussions, music and a wide-range of cultural events. With about 100,000 Jewish residents, St. Petersburg claims the second largest Jewish community in Russia today. Mendelevitch was held in a Soviet prison after being arrested for leading the 1970 “Operation Wedding,” a Soviet Jewish operation to steal a plane from then-Leningrad’s airport and escape to Israel. After gaining his freedom, Mendelevitch made Aliyah to Israel. … [Read more...]

Lviv Welcomes Over 500 for Limmud Ukraine

A participant wearing a vinok, a traditional Ukrainian wreath; photo by Yossi Aloni.

By Larisa Popovskaya Limmud FSU travels around the world and every year this educational festival comes to Ukraine. This year is unusual. This year is the first time Limmud has come to Lviv, the cultural center of today's Western Ukraine and the former center of Jewish life in this region, which was then called Lemberg in German or Lemberik in Yiddish. The city is awash with Austrian architecture, narrow streets of the Middle Ages, the Ukrainian language, Catholic churches, European pavements, Ukrainian cuisine with Polish and Hungarian influences. The Western culture of coffee and a strong national self-identification of local citizens also makes Lviv one of the most interesting and diverse Ukrainian destinations. Jewish life was rich before the Holocaust, every third person who inhabited the … [Read more...]

Limmud FSU Lvov – 1st Look

Havdalah

A sold-out four-day conference of Limmud FSU Ukraine is taking place this weekend in Lviv (historically known as Lvov or Lemburg), the cultural capital of Ukraine. The conference opened with a moment of silence for Ukrainians who have fallen in the country’s ongoing civil conflict. Lvov’s Mayor, Andriy Sadovyi, a rising political persona, attended the opening ceremony in the city’s Center for Science and Technology. Other distinguished guests included Israel’s Ambassador to Ukraine, Eliav Belotserkovsky, and local Jewish communal leaders. The Israeli envoy, noting an exhibition about Ukrainian Jewish history on display during the conference, said the community can serve as a “human bridge” to help build ties between Israel and Ukraine. More than 600,000 Jews from Ukraine have … [Read more...]

Expanding Conferences Help FSU Jews Gain Mainstream Communal Acceptance

Limmud FSU Canada, October 2014; photo by Yossi Aloni.

Despite challenging times, Limmud FSU opened their annual festival in Ukraine today. By Alina Dain Sharon and Sean Savage JNS.org An American Jewish astronaut who learned to speak Russian while training with cosmonauts walks into a lecture hall filled with Russian-American Jews. No, it’s not a priest-and-rabbi-style joke, but a real-life event that exemplifies the spirit of the Limmud FSU educational conferences. At Limmud FSU’s 2010 conference in New York, former NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman addressed the crowd in Russian - to the audience’s delight. Many of the young FSU-immigrant Jews living in the United States still “have a strong cultural affinity for being Russian” and speak Russian when they get together, even though they may live in the same apartment buildings or work in … [Read more...]

Rare Photo Exhibition of Former PM Begin Opens in Toronto

Participants at exhibition opening ceremony; photo by Yossi Aloni, courtesy Limmud FSU.

Limmud FSU, in cooperation with the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, opened a remarkable photographic exhibition Monday at the Schwartz/Reisman Centre in Toronto, focusing on the life and Eastern European Jewish roots of a giant of modern Israel, Menachem Begin. The exhibition about Begin, who served as Israeli prime minister from 1977-1983, will be on display to the public through November. “Milestones - From Brest-Litovsk to the Prime Minister’s Office,” tells the story of Begin’s life and career as commander of the pre-state Irgun, as the sixth prime minister of the State of Israel, and as a Nobel Laureate. The exhibition was curated by Rami Shtivi. The opening of the exhibition was part of the Limmud FSU Canada festival, which took place this past weekend in Huntsville, ON in collaboration … [Read more...]

Canadian MP Cotler at Limmud FSU Canada: Protect Citizens but Preserve Democracy

Livnat + Toronto

Huntsville, Ontario, Oct. 27 - Canadian Member of Parliament Irwin Cotler said the country needs to toughen security measures against terrorism, while preserving the nation’s democratic freedoms. Cotler addressed the recent terror attacks in Canada in remarks to some 500 Russian-speaking Jews participating in the inaugural Limmud FSU Canada. Cotler, a Canadian-Jewish leader and human-rights activist served as the honorary chair of the weekend program. “Canada is a country that takes pride in its openness, freedom and democracy, but at this point, the Canadian government needs to take the right measures to ensure that it remains not only peaceful but also secured in a way that we combat the threats,” said Cotler. “Security has to be expanded, but not at the expense of freedom. We need to protect … [Read more...]