This weekend (November 1-4), 650 members of the Jewish community of Ukraine gathered in Lviv (Lvov) for the 12th annual volunteer-driven festival of Jewish learning organized by Limmud FSU. The four-day conference, dedicated to Israel’s 70th anniversary, took place in the cultural capital of Ukraine for the fourth time, and included more than 120 seminars, lectures, presentations, excursions and workshops, given by an array of international and local speakers, as well as a special program for children.
Among keynote speakers were Joel Lion, Israel’s Ambassador to Ukraine; Dorit Golender, Genesis Philanthropy Group and former Israeli Ambassador to Russia; Dr. Zeev Khanin, Chief Scientist of the Israel Ministry of Immigration and Absorption; the famous Russian-Jewish actor, Immanuil Vitorgan from Moscow; Alex Mershon, Director of the Department of Culture and Education at Nativ; Dr. Igor Shchupak, Director of “Tkuma” – the Ukrainian Institute for Holocaust Studies; Rabbi Grigoriy Abramovich from Belarus and many others.
During the opening event, the Mayor of Lviv, Andriy Sadovyi, said: “No one in the world achieved what the Jewish people did with the establishment of the State of Israel. My wish is that the people of Ukraine should believe in themselves in the same that the Jewish people believe in their state”
Chaim Chesler, founder of Limmud FSU, added; “We are proud to celebrate our 12th event in Ukraine, home to one of the most thriving Jewish communities in the world and a city rich in Jewish history and culture.” Limmud FSU Ukraine Chair and Hillel CASE Regional Director Osik Akselrud concluded: “The key to Limmud’s success lies in its unique combination of learning, recreation and communication, which harmoniously unite in creating the unique Limmud “atmosphere.”
Limmud FSU Ukraine was made possible thanks to the team of local leaders and volunteers. The festival enjoyed the generous support of the Dutch Jewish Humanitarian Fund (JHF), Genesis Philanthropy Group, Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, the Conference for Material Claims against Germany, Israeli Foreign Ministry, Nativ – Israel Prime-minister’s office, All-Ukrainian Jewish congress headed by Vadim Rabinovich and Ukrainian Jewish Encounter (UJE).
Local partners who have supported over the years have included: Lviv City Council, the representative office of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) in Central and Western Ukraine, the All-Ukrainian Jewish Charitable Foundation “Hesed Arieh” and Hillel in Ukraine.