The ‘Illit-Nite’ at Limmud FSU Olympics

by Nathan Roi

On a recent Friday morning, as dawn broke, hundreds of young participants hit the pool, concluding a marathon all-day and White Night Limmud FSU program in Nazareth Illit.

Nine hundred souls attended this premier event for Russian-speaking Israelis, including 150 students from the Former Soviet Union currently visiting Israel under the auspices of the Masa program.

The day program, as Limmud around the world, consisted of numerous and simultaneous sessions on everything from ‘Jews in Sports’ and ‘Leon Uris: Great American Jewish Novelist’ to sessions on ‘Terrorism, pre and post 9/11′ and ’50 Years Since the Eichmann Trial’.

A sunset concert program at the Nazareth Illit municipality building featured a performance by the popular Israeli singer Sarit Hadad, who electrified the 3000+ crowd with a wide selection from her repertoire.

Following the performance, hundreds migrated over to “Spa Illit”- the town’s country club where several events took place simultaneously including lectures and an outdoor “earphone disco” designed so as not to disturb the club’s neighbors, all taking place until 5:00 am.

Speaking to eJP, Chaim Chesler, Limmud FSU’s founder said, “After a packed day of lectures, workshops and presentations, we thought it would be a great idea to close with a night-long event for the first time in the history of Limmud, with lectures, music, dance, swimming in the lighted pool and a typical Israeli kumzitz (bonfire).”

Among those participating in the festivities was the artistic gymnast Neta Rivkin who took seventh place in the recent Olympic Games in London, Holocaust survivor and Claims Conference VP Ben Helfgott and the town’s Deputy Mayor, Alex Gadalkin, who was chair of the organizing committee for the event.

photos by Nathan Roi and Roman Yanushevsky