Limmud FSU Volga-Urals Kicks Off Today with Interfaith Dialogue

Temple of All Religions in Kazan includes an Orthodox church, a minaret, and a synagogue.
Temple of All Religions in Kazan includes an Orthodox church, a minaret, and a synagogue.

Limmud FSU Festival includes interfaith dialogue between religious leaders
and a rededication of the 100-year old Great Synagogue of Kazan

In Kazan, the capital of the Tatarstan Republic, the largest Jewish event of the year is about to begin, drawing hundreds of Jews from throughout the greater Volga and Urals area, including Kazan, Samara, Nizhny Novgorod, Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg – which together comprise the third largest Jewish concentration in Russia after Moscow and St. Petersburg. Today, there are some 10,000 Jews in the city.

Kazan is located 800 kilometers east of Moscow and is often referred to as the “Third Capital” of Russia, after Moscow and St. Petersburg. With a population of 1.2 million, it is the eighth most populous city in Russia. The multi-ethnic city is famous for Muslims and Christians living peacefully together and has been dubbed the Sports Capital of Russia.

In addition to a full Limmud program, Limmud Volga-Urals will be marked by a series of unique events. One of them is today’s “Interfaith Dialogue – Islam, Judaism, Christianity,” co-chaired by Chaim Chesler, founder of Limmud FSU, with the participation of the Chief Rabbi of Russia, Rabbi Berl Lazar, the Chief Rabbi of Tatarstan, Rabbi Yitzhak Gorelik, the head of the local Russian-Orthodox church, the Grand Mufti of Tatarstan, senior Islamic clerics and two prominent Israeli rabbis – Rabbi Menachem Hacohen and Rabbi David Rosen.

Later, participants will share in the rededication of the 100 year-old Great Synagogue of Kazan with the participation of the President of the Tatarstan Republic, leaders of the local Jewish community and the Israel Ambassador to the Russian Federation, followed by a reception at the Kazan Municipality to mark the event.

Festival participants will also enjoy the Kazan Festival of Jewish Music, jointly organized by the Jewish community and the government of Tatarstan. This is a multi-day festival of performances by different troupes, including Limmud FSU guests Hanan Yovel and the Alma Group, presenting the songs of the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, to mark 90 years since his birth.

Yesterday evening, Limmud’s guests from Israel, Holland and the US,  joined a conference of Chabad emissaries to Russia, taking place in Kazan.