“Inspire your Intellect” – the Sixth Limmud FSU US Festival Opens Today

Photo from Limmud FSU 2014 New Jersey (eJP archives)

Among the approximately 1.7 million Jews living in New York and the US East Coast are nearly 300,000 immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Reaching out to this Russian-speaking population, is Limmud FSU whose annual festival opens today in New Jersey. The event, like all Limmud FSU events, is organized, planned and managed entirely by volunteers and is a unique opportunity for young Russian speakers to connect or reconnect with their Jewish heritage and identity; to create their own educational and social program; and to meet up with hundreds of people like themselves who share the same interests and concerns. Limmud FSU, founded nearly ten years ago by Chaim Chesler, brings together young Jewish adults in all the countries of the former Soviet Union, as well as those with Russian-speaking … [Read more...]

Limmud FSU Australia Kicks Off with More than 400 Participants

Limmud Australia 2015

By Sarah Bendetsky Over 400 participants attended the inaugural Limmud FSU events for Russian-speaking Jews in Sydney and Melbourne, run in partnership with the Zionist Federation of Australia. The opening gala event in Sydney was attended by 150 participants with another 250 arriving for a two-day festival of Jewish learning, dubbed “Kultura,” in the Lorne Mantra Resort, on the Great Ocean Road, near Melbourne. Bringing together Russian-speaking Jews from the length and breadth of Australia, the festival celebrated Jewish identity, history and culture, in an inclusive, pluralistic and egalitarian celebration of contemporary Jewish life. “Limmud FSU was established as part of the global Limmud initiative, founded in the UK 35 years ago, and known for its stimulating festivals of Jewish … [Read more...]

The Algemeiner’s “Top 100 People Positively Influencing Jewish Life”

Donald Trump at The Algemeiner's 'Jewish 100' Gala. Photo by Sarah Rogers.

Earlier this week at their annual Gala Dinner, The Algemeiner, released their list of the "Top 100 People Positively Influencing Jewish Life." The Gala itself, very much a pro-Israel affair, also honored Donald Trump and the late Joan Rivers. Accepting his award, Trump told the assembled guests to much appaluse: “I want to thank my Jewish daughter. I have a Jewish daughter. This wasn’t in the plan but I’m very glad it happened.” Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, converted to Judaism in 2009 before marrying real estate developer Jared Kushner. As to the list itself, the paper had this to say: "Jewish sages, in particular, did not create such lists. Indeed, some actually dismissed the categorization of lists (even of the 13 Principles of Faith of Maimonides, let alone of a list of the … [Read more...]

Limmud International and Limmud FSU Release Annual Reports

Limmud FSU logo 2015

The success of Limmud in the UK has inspired many other communities across the Jewish world to adopt the Limmud model. Activists in countries across six continents have discovered that Limmud is the ideal vehicle to reach all types of Jews and reflect the diversity of their own communities, creating cross-communal and cross-generational experiences, accessible to all. Limmud is proud of having inspired 80 different communities, in 41 countries!, around the world. Here is the 2014 Limmud International Annual Review, which you can download. ********** During 2014, Limmud FSU held nine events in seven different countries which were attended by over 5,000 Russian-speaking Jews. With their tenth anniversary in a year’s time, they continue to bring Jewish culture in its widest sense to a generation … [Read more...]

Limmud is the Sum of the People who Create It

St Petersburg organizing committee, Nov. 2014.

By Larisa Popovskaya Limmud FSU had its beginnings nearly eight years ago as a one-day seminar in Moscow. Chaim Chesler of Israel and Sandra Cahn of New York had the idea of developing for Russian speakers a version of the successful British model of a Jewish educational conference which had begun in 1980 and where people had a multiple choice of subjects and everything was planned and carried out by volunteers. It took some time to make Limmud FSU into a Limmud along the lines of the UK model, and in the beginning no one could imagine that it could become such a successful and popular event in the countries of the former Soviet Union, and, in fact, across the world where there are significant Russian-speaking Jewish populations. The project manager of Limmud FSU in Russia was, until recently, … [Read more...]

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...]