Living, Learning and Loving Judaism at Limmud FSU Moldova

The Shuk; photo courtesy Ruben Landsberger.

Regardless of what the future may hold, the conference participants, with their black, almost Israeli humor, were engaged and fully aware of what was unfolding before them, which one would not be remiss in describing as almost a miracle - the resuscitation of Jewish life in the barren Soviet Union, which generations of oppression have not succeeded in stamping out. by Erica Schachne Touching down in the grass-lined fields of Moldova’s tiny airport, I had no idea what to expect. I had come to Chisinau, the capital of this landlocked republic, for the weekend of May 23-25 to attend the Limmud FSU conference, the festival of Jewish learning celebrating the rebirth of Judaism’s foothold in the former Soviet Union. I had heard great things about this dynamic “Jewish Woodstock,” which … [Read more...]

‘Let My People Know’

courtesy Limmud FSU

by JPost Staff Polyna Berlin was born in Kharkov in the Soviet Union. She is Jewish, “but I had an epiphany two weeks ago in New York,” she tells me at a Limmud FSU conference in Jerusalem. “Tell me about it.” “I understood that in Limmud FSU, something of Jewish global significance was taking place. I understood that despite my limited knowledge of Judaism, here was an opportunity that I should not miss.” She is 32 years old and works in public relations. At the age of ten she left her family in Kharkov and found herself in Los Angeles. Her absorption was not painless. She attended Sunday school and met with Jewish children of Iranian extraction. “For them, I was a Russian,” she says, “I was not religious and they did not receive me warmly.” That was her first confrontation with Judaism … [Read more...]

The Birthplace of a Legend

A man walks past the childhood home of Elie Wiesel in Sighet; photo by Marc Israel Sellem.

by Steve Linde “Before me, always, is the photograph of the house in which I was born. The door that leads to the yard. The kitchen. I want to go inside, but I am afraid. I want to look at the house, if only from afar. With all that has happened to me, it is essential for me to remember that place.” Elie Wiesel Sighet, Romania - Two days before Passover in 1944, on the night before he and his family were rounded up and forced into ghettos and later deported to Auschwitz, 15-year-old Elie Wiesel dug a hole in the garden of his home and buried a gold watch his beloved grandfather had given him. Two decades later, after surviving the Holocaust, Wiesel returned to Sighet by himself and, under the cover of darkness, crept into the garden to see if the watch was still there. A week ago Sunday, I … [Read more...]

The Second Limmud FSU in Moldova

photo courtesy George Omen

by Mordechai Haimovitch The event opened modestly. Blue and orange balloons, a blue ribbon and a lone firework mark the opening of the second Limmud FSU conference in Chisinau, the capital of Moldova. Without the mass of people in New York, without the sparkle of Moscow and without the intellectual spirit of Odessa, but nevertheless, with a great deal of excitement and loads of welcome - people here smile at you, not just as a welcoming gesture but simply because that is the way they are. The fact that Moldova is the poorest country in Europe, changes nothing. An atmosphere of goodness pervades the air. In our hotel human engineering is somewhat lacking: the shower curtain doesn’t reach the floor and you end up surrounded by a small lake. The rooms have no telephone and the TVs have no remote … [Read more...]

Today: Elie Wiesel Interview Streamed Live


Today, May 18th, at 9:00 AM EDT, Nobel Prize-winning author Prof. Elie Wiesel will be interviewed live by Jerusalem Post editor-in-chief Steve Linde surrounding the opening of the first public Holocaust education center in Romania in Wiesel’s childhood home in the town of Sighet. The interview will be streamed live and can be viewed here. The “Holocaust Cellar” will become a new feature of the existing Holocaust museum in Prof. Wiesel’s pre-war home, in the old Jewish Ghetto of Sighet in Maramures County. The Cellar will serve as a learning center dedicated to the 13,000 local Jewish Holocaust victims. The opening of the Holocaust Cellar is sponsored jointly by the Government of Romania, the City of Sighet, the Claims Conference, the Romanian Jewish Federation and Limmud FSU. This is the … [Read more...]

Rare Photo Exhibition on Peres and Begin Displayed in New York

(L-R): Limmud FSU Founder Chaim Chesler, Co-Founder Sandra Cahn, Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N. Ron Prosor, and Executive Vice President & CEO of UJA-Federation of New York John Ruskay; photo courtesy Limmud FSU.

A remarkable photographic exhibition focusing on the lives and Eastern Europe-Jewish roots of two giants of modern Israel, Menachem Begin and Shimon Peres, was presented as part of a special closed reception that took place Thursday evening at UJA-Federation of NY and will soon be open to the public at another (to be announced) venue. The event was co-hosted by Limmud FSU and UJA-Federation of NY. “From Vilna Street, Vishneyeva to President’s Street, Jerusalem,” showcases the life and career of Israeli President Shimon Peres, and was curated by Yoram Dori, senior advisor to President Peres and a member of the Limmud FSU International Steering Committee. “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, … [Read more...]

Limmud with a Strong Moscow Accent


"Limmud Moscow is the educational flagship of the FSU; it is a bright and glowing event for Moscow Jewry with its special local atmosphere and its enormous number of presenters and participants and its varied content." Rabbi Boruch Gorin by Larisa Popovskaya Education, volunteering and fun ... that in a nutshell sums up Limmud FSU Moscow, 2014, a festival of great lectures and amazing people especially for Russian speakers. Limmud FSU is a part of the global Limmud which started in the United Kingdom 35 years ago. Limmud FSU has been roaming the globe already for the past eight years. Limmud FSU Moscow is the largest of these and it sets the tone for the other conferences, wherever they take place - in Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, the United States and Israel of course, with more to … [Read more...]