Second Limmud in Vitebsk Creates Dramatic Atmosphere

Belarusian dance group at opening program; photo by Yossi Aloni.

By Larisa Popovskaya Limmud does not stop. The world is anticipating every Limmud that happens all around the globe. I wouldn't be surprised that the first event that would take place on Mars or in space would be Limmud. But let's come back to the Earth. September time, year 2014, the Republic of Belarus, in the city of Vitebsk. These are the coordinates of the most recent Limmud FSU. More than 700 participants from Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Israel and the US came to the birthplace of the famous Jewish painter Marc Chagall to celebrate the best Jewish educational holiday ever. Moreover, in Belarus Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's grandparents and the founder of modern Hebrew Eliezer ben Yehuda were born. This year the son of Ariel Sharon - Gilad Sharon - and the grandson of Eliezer Ben … [Read more...]

Special Photo Exhibition on Late Israeli PM Ariel Sharon Unveiled in Minsk Today

Gilad Sharon at the exhibition opening; photo by Yossi Aloni.

Minsk, Belarus, Sept. 15 - A memorial event with a special photo exhibition honoring the late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon took place today in Minsk at the National History Museum of Belarus, from where Sharon’s parents immigrated to the Jewish State. The event was held as part of the Limmud FSU Belarus festival, a festival of Jewish learning, held Sept. 12-14 in Vitebsk, which drew over 600 young Jews, mostly professionals 20-40 years old. The memorial for Israel’s eleventh prime minister was held in collaboration with the Government of Belarus, the Embassy of Israel, and the local Jewish community, with the participation of Sharon's son Gilad, and close aide Israel Maimon, who served as his Cabinet Secretary. Marit Danon, the head secretary in Prime Minister’s Sharon’s office, curated … [Read more...]

Limmud FSU Belarus – A First Look

Limmud FSU Belarus 2014 Gala

On Friday morning, 300 kilometers east of Minsk, Limmud FSU's 2nd Belarus Festival (ART Limmud) opened. 700 participants traveled to Vitebsk - the birthplace of Marc Chagall - from various cities around Belarus; they were joined by friends from Russia, Ukraine, Israel and the U.S. The opening gala Friday afternoon was held in the presence of Israel’s Ambassador to Belarus Yosef Shagal; Chair of the Union of Belarusian Jewish Public Organizations Boris Gersten; and Minister of Culture (Vitebsk) Larissa Olinsiya and featured a blend of Israeli and Belarusian entertainment. photos from ART Limmud 2014's Opening Gala by Yossi Aloni … [Read more...]

Limmud FSU Belarus Festival Salutes JDC’s Ralph Goldman’s 100th Birthday

Opening Gala Limmud FSU Belarus 2014

At the opening gala of Limmud FSU's Festival in Vitebsk (Belarus), the organization saluted Ralph Goldman on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Those in attendance responded with enthusiastic applause and the singing of happy birthday in 3 languages - English, Hebrew and Russian. In remarks, Chaim Chesler - founder of Limmud FSU - thanked Goldman for his support of Limmud FSU since its founding nine years ago. At the time, Goldman stated, "Limmud FSU is the best way to attract young unaffiliated Russian-speaking Jews around the world." The gala, held this afternoon at the National Theatre of Vitebsk, was attended by 700 participants. Joining the celebration was Israel's Ambassador to Belarus Yosef Shagal; Chair of the Union of Belarusian Jewish Public Organizations Boris Gersten; and … [Read more...]

Limmud FSU Festival Opens Friday in Belarus

Limmud Belarus

Vitebsk, Belarus, Sept. 9 - Over 600 young Jews, mostly professionals 20-40 years old, will come together on Sept. 12-14 in Vitebsk for Limmud FSU, a festival of Jewish learning. There are currently about 70,000 Jews living in Belarus. Limmud FSU Belarus will take place in the hometown of Marc Chagall, at the Vitebsk National Museum of Fine Arts. Limmud FSU Belarus features a packed program of lectures, workshops, round-table discussions, music and a wide range of cultural events, including the opening of an exhibition by artist Alexander Okun. Among the main speakers will be Israeli Ambassador to Belarus Yosef Shagal, Chairman of Belarusian Jewish Organizations and Communities Boris Gersten, renowned Russian Jewish theater director Mark Rozovsky, Director of the Marc Chagall Museum Ludmila … [Read more...]

A Conversation With Chaim Chesler

Meeting with President Shimon Peres; (l-r) Matthew Bronfman, Shimon Peres, Aaron Frenkel, Chaim Chesler, Sandra Cahn; courtesy Chaim Chesler.

[With the fall Limmud FSU schedule in full swing, Asher Weill sat with Chaim Chesler - a long-time advocate for Soviet Jewry and Founder of Limmud FSU. In 2006, together with Sandra Cahn (US) and Mikhail Chlenov (Russia), Chaim founded Limmud FSU and chairs its Executive Committee. As executive director of the Israel Public Council for Soviet Jewry, he worked in Israel and around the globe to raise awareness of the struggle of Soviet Jews and their right to repatriate to Israel. Chesler headed The Jewish Agency for Israel’s delegation to the former Soviet Union and the United States, and served as treasurer of The Jewish Agency.] My mother came to pre-State Palestine from Bialystok in Poland in 1933, my father also managed to get out just in time in 1938, but most of their families did not. … [Read more...]

Rare Photo Exhibition on Menachem Begin Held in Westhampton Beach

photo courtesy Limmud FSU

Limmud FSU, in cooperation with the Menachem Begin Heritage Center and the Hamptons Synagogue, opened a remarkable photographic exhibition last weekend in Westhampton Beach, NY, focusing on the life and Eastern European Jewish roots of a giant of modern Israel, former prime minister Menachem Begin. “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 (1977-1983), and as a Nobel Laureate. The exhibition was curated by Rami Shtivi. The special weekend of events surrounding the exhibition included a sold-out Friday night dinner, a panel discussion entitled “The Life of Menachem Begin” with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Herzl Makov - Chairman of the Menachem … [Read more...]

“Ace” Greenberg, Bel Kaufman, z”l

We remember: Alan “Ace” Greenberg, the former head of Bear Stearns and longtime Wall Street executive died of complications from cancer in New York on Friday at the age of 86. For years, Ace hosted UJA-Federation NY's campaign launch event, which became known with some reverence and affection as the “Greenberg event.” A legend of Wall Street and a stalwart champion of the Jewish people both at home and in Israel - his memory, spirit, and impact will remain an enduring legacy. Bel Kaufman, teacher and author, granddaughter of Shalom Aleichem, best known for writing the 1965 bestselling novel Up the Down Staircase, passed away Friday at her home in New York City. Bel was 103 and an honoured lecturer at Limmud FSU programs. Her Skype session at this year's Limmud FSU Moscow was one of her last … [Read more...]