Limmud FSU Official Newsletter - August 2019

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NewsLetter 13

Limmud Labs is on!

All the first details about our new and exciting project, together with the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs


Vienna - get ready!

Limmud FSU Europe 2020 is just around the corner - and a preparatory meeting took place in Austria’s capital








I S S U E 5 , Aug us t 2 0 1 9

Strategic Plan

Some of the highlights of the recently completed strategic plan for growth and develpoment!






Limmud FSU Moscow’s session. Courtesy of Eli Itkin.

A record number of 2,150 Jewish participants took part in the biggest Jewish event in Moscow during April. The program of the flagship annual festival included more than 250 sessions on wide range of topics, with a great selection of activities each hour, for 2 different age groups. In total, the conference included more than 350 different lectures, sessions, panels and performances, and also a special children program, that was structured as Limmud with many options and run by the volunteers-teenagers–an innovative approach. Keynote speakers at the conference included Russia’s chief rabbi, Berel Lazar, Israel’s Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Minister of Environmental Protection Zeev Elkin, Limmud FSU President Aaron G. Frenkel, Israeli Ambassador to Russia Gary Koren, President and CEO of Genesis Philanthropy Group Ilia Salita, Regional director of “Nativ” in Russia and Belarus Yana Agmon, Philanthropist Harold Grinspoon, lawyer Mikhail Barschevsky, author Lyudmila Ulitskaya ,Vice President of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress Moshe Shvets , Director of the Russian-speaking

Limmud FSU Moscow’s session. Courtesy of Nikolay Yakubovskiy.



MOSCOW programs of the Steinsaltz Center Lia Shvets , curator of the exhibit Uri Gershovich ,coacher and psychologist Nesia Ferdman and more. Founder of Limmud FSU, Chaim Chesler: “It’s truly unbelievable that we reached our 13th milestone in Moscow, the very place where Limmud FSU was born, and we’re honored to continue serving an important part in the life of the local Jewish community”. Sandy Cahn, Limmud FSU co-founder added that “it is our hope to continue to flourish and strengthen our wonderful community in Moscow, it’s truly inspiring and unprecedent.” One of the highlights of the event was the inauguration of a new exhibition based on the life’s work of the noted Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, who was one of the first spiritual leaders of Limmud FSU and took part in its inaugural event in Moscow in 2006. The exhibit was produced especially for the event by Limmud FSU and the Steinsaltz Center in Jerusalem. At the festive opening, a round-table discussion took place on the philosophy and heritage of the rabbi with the participation of distinguished guests from Israel and elsewhere.

One of the conference’s participants, Inna Kagan (25), said: “This is my 5th time at Limmud FSU in Moscow, and I can definitely say that it is just keep getting better and better each year.” Regional director of “Nativ” in Russia and Belarus, Yana Agmon: “The preservation of an Independent Jewish identity is the shared motive of Nativ and Limmud FSU. We don’t presume to impose from above but study together as to how to strengthen the Jewish ethical core that binds our people together. We are even more delighted that we were partners in preparing the Israel content for the Moscow Limmud FSU festival. Supporters of the event included Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG), Nativ, Claims Conference, Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and more. In the best tradition of Limmud, the event was made possible by its team of local leaders and volunteers, led by Limmud FSU Executive Director Roman Kogan and the Project Manager Elena Zakharova, volunteers Mikhail Libkin, Alexandra Livergant, Alexander Piatigorskiy, Anna Tseplyaeva and others.

Minister Zeev Elkin’s birthday celebration. Courtesy of Nikolay Yakubovskiy.


Dima Zicer’s session at Limmud FSU Moscow. Courtesy of Olesya S Los.

Limmud FSU Moscow’s session. Courtesy of Olesya S Los.

Limmud FSU Moscow’s session. Courtesy of Olesya S Los.

Limmud FSU Moscow’s participants and volunteers. Courtesy of Olesya S Los.

Limmud FSU Moscow’s Havdala for children. Courtesy of Olesya S Los.

Limmud FSU Moscow’s session. Courtesy of Olesya S Los.


HONOURING RABBI ADIN STEINSALTZ New exhibition launched at Limmud FSU Moscow honored Israel Prize laureate Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, marking 30 yrs since opening of first USSR yeshiva.


ne of the highlights of Limmud FSU Moscow event was the inauguration of a new exhibition based on the life’s work and heritage of the noted Chabad rabbi, Adin Steinsaltz, which was attended by some 2,000 young Jewish participants taking part in the annual festival. The exhibit was produced especially for the event by Limmud FSU and the Steinsaltz Center in Jerusalem, today directed by the rabbi’s son, Meni Even-Israel, and was the result of a first-time cooperation between the organizations. Rabbi Steinsaltz was one of the first spiritual leaders of Limmud FSU and took part in its inaugural event in Moscow in 2006. At the festive opening, a round-table discussion took place on the philosophy and heritage of the rabbi with the participation of distinguished guests from Israel and elsewhere including Rabbi Berel Lazar, the Chief Rabbi of Russia; Israeli Minister for Jerusalem Affairs and Environmental Protection Zeev Elkin, Steinsaltz’s student himself; Gary Koren, Israel’s Ambassador to the Russian Federation; Aaron G. Frenkel, President of Limmud FSU; Moshe Shvets, Vice President of the Euro-Asian Congress; Chaim Chesler, founder of Limmud FSU; Lia Shvets, Director of the Russian-speaking programs of the Steinsaltz Center; Academician Evgeny Velikhov; curator of the exhibitEditor’s Uri Gershovich; coacher and note psychologist Nesia Ferdman who also moderated the discussion and more. Rabbi Berel Lazar said: “To speak about the greatness of Rabbi Steinsaltz in just a few minutes is an impossible task. I can say one thing: I still remember the inauguration of his Yeshiva. He was the first person to bring in ordinary people with no prior knowledge of the world of the Talmud. He was the first person to open the door to the world of Jewish learning to the simple person from the street. That is what Rabbi Steinsaltz has attempted to do throughout the world - to make Jewish studies accessible. For that, he deserves our deepest thanks.” Minister Elkin said during the event: “For me this is an event of deep emotion. I was familiar with Rabbi Steinsaltz through his books at the beginning of my own entry into the world of Jewish learning, even before I arrived at the Yeshiva. I was not myself from Moscow but each time I visited the city in the years 1989 and 1990, I would visit the Yeshiva. It was a place where one could always be assured of an interesting lesson or the possibility of spending Shabbat. For me, the first Yeshiva in Russia was for me a real home.” During the opening of the exhibition, Limmud FSU founder Chaim Chesler said, “We are greatly honored that one of the Torah greats of this generation, Rabbi Steinsaltz, was involved at the very beginning of Limmud FSU and we have made every effort since then to direct our activities in his path.”



Limmud FSU President Aaron G. Frenkel next to the exhibition. Courtesy of Eli Itkin.

Limmud FSU President Aaron G. Frenkel, Minister Zeev Elkin and Limmud FSU Founder Chaim Chesler. Courtesy of Eli Itkin.

L-R : Limmud FSU President Aaron G. Frenkel, Vice President of the Russian Jewish Congress German Zaharyaev, Vice President of the Euro-Asian Congress Moshe Shvets, Cheif Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar, Israeli Minister for Jerusalem Affairs and Environmental Protection Zeev Elkin, Limmud FSU Founder Chaim Chesler and Israel’s Ambassador to the Russian Federation Gary Koren. Courtesy of Eli Itkin.


The exhibition at Limmud FSU. Courtesy of Eli Itkin.

Lia Shvets with Evgeny Velikhov. Courtesy of Eli Itkin.

Rabbi Berel Lazar. Courtesy of Eli Itkin.

Chaim Chesler. Courtesy of Eli Itkin.

Zeev Elkin, Rabbi Berel Lazar and Evgeny Velikhov. Courtesy of Eli Itkin.

Courtesy of Eli Itkin.




Limmud FSU Belarus Kabbalat Shabbat. Courtesy of Boris Brumin.


record number of 600 Jewish participants took part in the biggest Jewish event ever to take place in Belarus. The pluralistic volunteer-driven conference included more than 150 sessions on a wide range of topics. Keynote presenters at the conference included Andrey Makarevich, a famous rock musician from Moscow; Alon Shoham, Israel’s Ambassador to Belarus; Hadas Kalderon, the granddaughter of Abraham Sutzkever, the acclaimed Yiddish poet; Rabbis Shneor Deutsch, Grigory Abramovich; Yana Agmon, the regional director of “Nativ” in Russia and Belarus ; Dorit Golender, vice-president of community relations in Genesis Philanthropy Group; Zeev Khanin, chief scientist of Israeli Ministry of Absorption; Efraim Zuroff, historian and Nazi hunter and others. Chaim Chesler said: “It our second time in Minsk, and we are truly excited to be a part of this vibrant community with its rich Jewish history.” Sandra Cahn, Limmud FSU cofounder: “Hopefully, we’ll continue to grow, reach new heights, and break records for many years to come.” One of the event’s highlights was the opening of an exhibition on the life and work of Yitzhak Shamir the seventh Prime Minister

Limmud FSU Belarus. Courtesy of Boris Brumin.



of the State of Israel, who was born in Belarus. Taking part were his children, former Israeli Minister of agriculture Yair Shamir, and daughter, Gilada Diamant, as well as Herzl Makov, Shamir’s former director of the office and chair of Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem – Limmud FSU’s partner in this initiative. Regional director of “Nativ” in Russia and Belarus, Yana Agmon: “Nativ is happy to support Israeli content in the programs of Limmud FSU events and together, to instill values incorporating Zionism, Jewish identity and a recognition of the Land of Israel in all its aspects. Here in Belarus, Nativ is proud to present children’s leadership as developed in Nativ Cultural Center’s youth club in Minsk, in its intergenerational aspects and with reference to Nobel Prize winners. I believe that that the wonderful experience that Limmud FSU provides to its participants year after year, will remain in your hearts for a long time to come. Alon Shoham, Israel’s Ambassador to Belarus: “I’m so delighted to see here at Limmud FSU so many young Jewish adults. They are truly the future of the Jewish community in Belarus.” Lena Kulevnich, director of Hillel Minsk

and chair of the programming committee of Limmud FSU Belarus : “Minsk’s Hillel, as always, acted as a partner of the conference, and our activists were part of the organizing committee and were part of the team that developed the program, atmosphere and design, worked in PR, and joined the ranks of volunteers and presenters. We are proud of all our Hillelniks who appeared as presenters for the first time and made a successful debut, grateful to the amazing volunteers who contributed to the great success of the conference, and to all who made this festival unique and special.” Supporters of the event included Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG), American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, Claims Conference, Nativ, Leonid Tomchin - Chairman of the Board of Directors of the pharmaceutical holding “Apteka group”, Jewish Agency in Belarus, Hillel and more. The event was made possible by its team ofleaders and volunteers, led by Limmud FSU Executive Director Roman Kogan and Project Manager Galina Rybnikova, volunteers Viktoria Brumina (chair of the organizing committee), Yelena Kulevnich, Irina Fridman, Tatyana Shteinbuk, Alexander Furs and others.

Limmud FSU Belarus children session. Courtesy of Boris Brumin.


Launch of PM Shamir’s exhibition at the National History Museum of Belarus. Courtesy of Boris Brumin.

Andrey Makarevich’s concert. Courtesy of Boris Brumin.

Limmud FSU Belarus team. Courtesy of Boris Brumin.

Yair Shamir at the opening ceremony. Courtesy of Boris Brumin.

Kabbalat Shabbat. Courtesy of Boris Brumin.

Limmud FSU Belarus session. Courtesy of Boris Brumin.


TRIBUTE TO SUGIHARA IN BELARUS Chiune Sugihara son, Nobuki with other senior officials at the ceremony. Courtesy of Boris Brumin.


n Holocaust Memorial Day, an official celebratory event organized by Limmud FSU was held in honor of Chiune Sugihara (1900-1986), the Japanese consul in Kovno during the war. The event was a central feature of the Limmud FSU annual festival in Belarus, attended by some 600 young Jewish participants. The guest of honor at the event was Nobuki Sugihara, the son of the noted Righteous Among the Nations. Despite the great personal dangers involved, Sugihara issued thousands of entry permits to Japan to Jews in Poland and Lithuania, including most of the students and teaching staff at the famed Mir Yeshiva. Following the war, thanks to Sugihara’s actions, his rescuers founded a new Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem and in New York. The central feature of the event was the dedication of a memorial plaque to Sugihara who, after the war, was granted by Yad Vashem, the title of “Righteous of the Nations.” The plaque was installed on the historic building of the Yeshiva with the participation of Nobuki Sugihara, the son of Chiune Sugihara. He said during the ceremony that when he asked his father why he had chosen to save the Jews, and if

he known them previously, he replied that he had not. “My father told me that the only thing that guided him was a deep desire to help and save anyone whom he could,” “He knew they had nowhere to go, and that no one else was going to help them to survive. He said, ‘People simply came to ask me for help and I just did it.’ “ The son added, “I am sure that my father is with us here today in spirit and would certainly be very excited by the fact that so many people have come to honor his memory.” Among the participants were Israel’s ambassador to Belarus, Alon Shoham; Japan’s ambassador to Belarus, Hiroki Tokunga; Minsk’s chief rabbi, Rabbi Shneur Deutsch; founder of Limmud FSU Chaim Chesler; the head of the Jewish community in Belarus, Vladimir Chernitsky; the ambassadors of Austria, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the European Union as well as the Deputy Ambassador of the United States, Head of Nativ for the Russian Federation, Belarus and the Baltic countries, Yana Agmon; and Deputy Chairman of the Korelichi District Executive Committee Ruslan Abramchik. Local residents who wanted to participate in the event received special

Limmud FSU Founder Chaim Chesler with Nobuki Sugihara. Courtesy of Boris Brumin.



permission to be absent from work, as did many of the students from the schools in the area who came especially to take part in the ceremony. The event was made possible thanks to the support of the Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG) and the Jewish businessman Leonid Tomchin. Chaim Chesler, founder of Limmud FSU: “It is a great honor for our organization to pay tribute to Mr. Sugihara, who did the impossible at great risk to himself and his family, and saved thousands of souls during the terrible Holocaust. Sugihara is a symbol of courage and resourcefulness, and I hope that today we will be able to send a message of hope and sharpen the importance of the persistent struggle against anti-Semitism and racism everywhere in the world. “ Rabbi Deutsch said: “At this difficult time, when there are manifestations of anti-Semitism across the world, such as the recent terrible shooting incident in San Diego, the message that emerges this morning from Mir is one of hope and peace. We should spread the message of the Righteous Among the Nations Sugihara and his heroic actions to serve us as a beacon in these difficult times.“

L-R : Rabbi Shneur Deutsch, Chaim Chesler, Nobuki Sugihara, Ruslan Abramchik. Courtesy of Boris Brumin.


December February

Limmud FSU Ukraine

Limmud FSU Israel



e are happy to announce that next Limmud FSU Ukraine will take place in the center of the historical jewish city of Odessa! October 31-November 3, 2019

fter a wonderful event in Jerusalem 2018, Limmud FSU Israel will take place in a new location the city of Ashdod! December 12-14, 2019

February March

Limmud FSU/ Limmud FSU Europe Regional Nahum he much Goldmann anticipated, the Fellowship



articipants will confront and debate issues and questions relevant to their Jewish communities and to the future Jewish identity in the FSU. February 9 – Tuesday February 11, 2020.

second Limmud FSU Europe is only a few months away- this time it’ll take place in Vienna, Austria! February 28 - March 1, 2020

Limmud FSU Canada


he beautiful Blue Mountain Resort will be hosting ,once again, the annual Canada Limmud FSU event! March 27 - 29. 2020





Limmud FSU New York’s team. Courtesy of Igor Khodzinskiy

Several hundred Jewish young adults

from the Russian-speaking community attended Limmud FSU’s conference in New York, taking place on June 16 for the second time in a row in the center of Manhattan – this time at the UJA Federation of New York conference center. During the annual conference packed with high-quality lectures and activities in the very spirit of Limmud, an emotional commemoration event in memory of the victims of recent anti-Semitic attacks on US Jewish institutions and synagogues took place. It was led by Chabad Rabbi Avi Bukiet, from Center for Jewish Life in Arlington-Belmont, that was set on fire in May twice in the framework of a hate crime. The Rabbi told the participants about the horrific incidents and said that “We, as a Jewish people, have to show we are united, and we not going anywhere”. The program of the annual conference included dozens of activities on wide range of topics by noted speakers and lecturers, among them the noted Canadian author and filmmaker David Bezmozgis; prominent American historian Deborah

Lipstadt; a popular Australian broadcast and TV personality Rabbi Mordechai Becher; Writer and teacher Rachel Sharansky Danziger; Writer, literary critic, and radio broadcaster Alexander Genis; Israeli Actress and granddaughter of the famed Yiddish writer Avraham Sutzkever, Hadas Kalderon; The Operations Officer in an Israeli special commando unit under the command of Yoni Netanyahu Rami Sherman, Limmud International chief executive Eli Ovits, and many more. The packed event also featured an interactive children’s program for ages 3-13, and also a special teen program, “Discovery Day – Israel” in partnership with ClubZ. Founder of Limmud FSU, Chaim Chesler said: “We couldn’t feel more blessed - the program of Limmud FSU NY this year is extremely rich, high-quality and packed with the best speakers from so many different fields of work.” Sandra Cahn, co-founder of Limmud FSU added that “We’re excited to continue to take an active part in the vibrant and ever-evolving life of the Russian-speaking Jewish community of New York, and the

Limmud FSU New York’s children activities. Courtesy of Igor Khodzinskiy.



amazing program this year is a great example”. “It’s a great experience to be here, one day which is so packed with different activities, learning, sharing” said Marina Kagan (28) from New York who attended the conference for the second time, “It’s a truly unique event, and it never disappoints.” Supporters of the event included UJA - Jewish Federation of NY, Genesis Philanthropy Group, World Zionist Organization, Jonathan Leader, Mark Tsesarsky, The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Tom Blumberg and others. In the best tradition of Limmud FSU, the event was made possible by its team of local leaders and volunteers led by Limmud FSU Executive Director Roman Kogan and Project Manager Noam Shumakh – Khaimov, co-chairs Alina Bitel and Roman Sidler, as well as Yuliya Mazur, Inna Penek, Nina Faynberg and many others.

Limmud FSU New York. Courtesy of Igor Khodzinskiy.


Sandra Cahn, Chaim Chesler and Hadas Kalderon. Courtesy of Igor Khodzinskiy.

Limmud FSU New York kids session. Courtesy of Igor Khodzinskiy.

Limmud FSU New York. Courtesy of Igor Khodzinskiy.

Deborah Lipstadt. Courtesy of Igor Khodzinskiy.

Limmud FSU New York children activity. Courtesy of Igor Khodzinskiy.

Rabbi Avi Bukiet. Courtesy of Igor Khodzinskiy.




With Claudia Prutscher, the vice-president of Jewish community of Vienna (Israelitische Kultusgemeine Wien), our main local partner.


he organizing committee met in July in Vienna, together with our executive director Roman Kogan and project manager Ira Zdanovich to get ready for the upcoming conference that will take place on February 28 - March 1 at Eventhotel Pyramide hotel. New partners were engaged, including the main Jewish Community organizaton (IKG) headed by Oskar Deutsch, and also the Bukharian community, Centropa educational center, Lauder Business school, the Government of Austria (Ministry of Education, Science and Research and Ministry of Europe, Integration and Foreign affairs), and two important funds: Austrian National Fund and the Future Fund. City of Vienna is also engaged and helping with everything that is needed!

With Dr.Johannes Strasser, head of Press and Information department at the Federal Ministry With Lauder Business School’s Executive director Alex Zirkler, with our volunteers who joined the meeting: Veronica Geller from Vienna - programming committee and Dima of Europe, Integration and Foreign affairs. Mevzos from London - chair of logistics committee.

Meeting in the City Hall with Silvia Friedfrich from the office of European and International affairs of city of Vienna, Jon Goldberg - founder of Limmud Wien, together with Roman Kogan, Ira Zdanovich and Alex Feller, member of the organizing committee.



Volunteers meetings.


e are excited to be able to tell you about our latest venture which is due to take off in the coming months – “LIMMUD LABS”! This project, which is a joint initiative of Limmud FSU, together with the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, is first of all, a golden opportunity to continue to develop and strengthen Jewish awareness among young Russian-speaking Jews the world over. Through this new cooperation, our activity will spread way beyond its present confines and will give young adult members of Russian-speaking communities the chance to become more and deeply involved in Jewish activities and in so doing, to strengthen their Jewish identity and regard for the State of Israel. The immediate aim of LIMMUD LABS is the to serve as a lively platform for local community initiatives, in the framework of which a wide variety of educational activities aimed at the 17-45 age will take place. The goal – to establish ongoing learning environments in every place where there is already a base of Limmud FSU programs. The program of the initiatives will be developed from the ground up either by individuals or by setting up local young adult groups, and after a selection process, construction and guidance will be implemented by the local community itself. The uniqueness of this innovative project lies in that it has developed from the study of requests made by Limmud FSU volunteers and participants who are deeply involved and committed and for several years, have requested that the educational activities be expanded to incorporate opportunities for self-expression according to the specific needs of each community. That is the central reason why we have a deep sense of belief in the success of the project – because it has developed from the participants themselves based on deeply felt organic and verifiable needs. The Project Manager of the new joint project will be Gabi Farberov. She was born in Latvia and made Aliyah in 1994, has a B.A. in History and an M.A. in Educational System Development. For the last 12 years, Gabi has worked in the Oranim College of Education, developing and directing international programs for teenagers, students, young adults and families from Israel, FSU, Germany, South America and the United States. This new collaboration between the Israeli government and Limmud FSU will provide a unique opportunity to break through existing formats and provide a platform for Russian-speaking Jewish activists throughout the world, to take the connections and skills they have acquired to more advanced levels of learning and knowledge. President of Limmud, Aaron G. Frenkel :“This joint initiative between Limmud and the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs can provide a rare opportunity for the Russian-speaking Jews around the globe. The potential of this innovative project is to expand and deepen the connection of young Jews to Judaism and Israel is tremendous and bears phenomenal implications for the future of the Jewish people worldwide. For Limmud, the recognition by the government of Israel of our activities is an important milestone and will allow us to achieve a really meaningful change in the level of our work.”


preparatory meeting for Limmud FSU Moldova’s organizing committee and volunteers took place in the capital Chisinau in the middle of March. The sessions focused on the preparations for the upcoming Limmud FSU Moldova 2019 event, that will take place this year on August 25-26.




Limmud FSU Executive Director Roman Kogan and our volunteers with Jonathan Peled, the Ambassador of Israel to Mexico


5 Limmud volunteers from Jewish communities across Latin and North America, including 6 representatives of 3 Limmud FSU North American projects as well as Limmud FSU Executive director Roman Kogan gathered in June in Mexico to learn, train and network together on Limmud Elements Americas. Among other communities represented: Buenos Aires, Caracas, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Sao Paulo, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Limmud FSU Canada and West Coast, Atlanta, the Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Seattle and more.


e’re happy to announce the appointment of Ira Zdanovich as the new Project Manager for Limmud FSU Israel and Limmud FSU Europe! Ira has taken the place of Tatiana Pashaeva, who filled this position during the last year. Roman Kogan, Executive Director of Limmud FSU, “I wish to thank Tanya for all the hard work and investment in our joint project. She remains a Limmud FSU Israel volunteer and a member of Limmud FSU Moscow’s Organizing Committee, and we hope to continue to collaborate with her in this format. I also wish a lot of success to Ira, who has been involved in several of our Limmuds around the world, and I hope she will bring all her experience to this new position.”





February 4: Covenant Foundation co-sponsored event in collaboration with Jewish Parents Academy - with Arna Poupko Fisher, attended by some 100. The topic was “Why Judaism? A Thoroughly Modern Ancient Narrative,”. Jewish Parents Academy is a high caliber, Jewish adult education program for Russian-speaking parents in Brooklyn that aims to inspire participants to deepen their understanding of Jewish history, heritage and culture, strengthen their sense of belonging to the Jewish people, and create an empowered and learned community.

March 31 - Study Sunday that took the form of a walking tour of Jewish San Francisco, led by Yana Ratman, a tour guide and member of the Limmud FSU organizing committee. The study program on wheels examined what San Francisco is to the Jews and what the Jews are to San Francisco. Participants were introduced to the key chapters of the Jewish legacy of the city, and the most prominent Jewish pioneers and entrepreneurs who helped transform San Francisco into a thriving city, establishing the second largest Jewish community in the US, that gave birth to many Jewish civil leaders, philanthropists and cultural icons. Within the tour, the participants visited Haas-Lilienthal House, home-museum of one of the most famous Jewish dynasties of San Francisco, and the newly-restored sanctuary of She’erith Israel, one of the oldest congregations in the city.

March 7: Sharks Jewish heritage night was the first activity marketed in collaboration with Limmud Bay Area. Sharks is a local hockey team, and a group of LFSU West Coast volunteers attended the game together as a team-building activity, together with Limmud Bay Area and ZClub activists. ZClub is an organization devoted to addressing BDS. Together a group of 50 people attended the game. It was preceded by a social media live trivia educational game developed together with and run by Limmud Bay Area.

March 3: Study Sunday – together with Limmud Bay Area we hosted an Art of Gathering workshop, a volunteer training session, attended by some 20 Limmudniks. This collaborative learning workshop focused on skills building and volunteer engagement. The workshop was co-led by Irina Klay from the San Francisco based Jewish Community Federation, and featured Jason Harris from Lehrhaus Judaica. Participants reported that the seminar helped them feel connected, inspired and empowered to take the next steps on their Jewish journey within and outside of Limmud. House, home-museum of one of the most famous Jewish dynasties of San Francisco, and the newly-restored sanctuary of She’erith Israel, one of the oldest congregations in the city.

March : Covenant Foundation co-sponsored event -: Jewish comedy night reached out to the entire Bay Area community; it was held in cooperation with the Contra Costa Jewish school, and attracted more than 80 people. The star performer was Israeli comedian Ilya Axelrud.


April 14: Study Sunday that took the form of a mock Passover seder for Limmud volunteers April 14: Minneapolis: we held a Covenant Foundation co-sponsored Pesach celebration and the wider community, led by noted Jewish educator, Zhenya Lopatnik. It was attended by attended by some 100, coordinated by a key Limmud FSU volunteer, Ilana Volodarsky. The seder was led by Rabbi Daniel Ettedgui. 50 people who not only experienced a Passover seder, but also went home with the knowledge and skills – and ideas for how to make the event meaningful to adults and children – to lead one themselves.

May 15: Mini-Seminar – a conversation with Victor Shenderovich, a popular Russian satirist, writer, scriptwriter and radio host. The seminar was held with the help of the JCC Association, and was attended by some 40 people. Shenderovich spoke about his new novel, the political situation in Russia and the current situation of antisemitism in Russia.

June 8: Covenant Foundation co-sponsored event – Tikkun Leil Shavuot, in partnership with NCSY. Some 100 people attended a kiddush and Shavuot learning with sessions for all ages. The guest speaker was Marc Fein, a mental wellness advocate.

June : 2 volunteers from New York and 3 from the San Francisco Bay Area attended a 3-day leadership training seminar for Limmud festivals in North America and Latin America arranged by Limmud- Limmud Elements Americas. In New York, on July 2, there was a follow-up meeting of the organizing committee with the volunteers who went to the seminar to discuss what they learned and how it can be implemented in future Limmud FSU activities in New York. In the San Francisco Bay Area there was an online conversation about the training, and it was agreed to invite a senior volunteer from Limmud to help bring new ideas to the organizing committee.




immud FSU Canada continues with ongoing activity between the conferences, thanks to our partnership with Pincus Fund - in June the local team hosted a wonderful speaker, Israeli hero Rami Sherman, in partnership with Or Hadash Synagogue in New Market. Rami is an Israeli IDF Officer, who was part of the heroic team in Operation Entebbe Also, during Passover a special cooking Master Class took place, with participation of Galya Sarner.

Rami Sherman with the participants.

Meeting with Rami Sherman.

Meeting with Rami Sherman.

Passover a special cooking Master Class.

Passover a special cooking Master Class with Galya Sarner.

Passover a special cooking Master Class.





preparatory seminar for Limmud FSU Ukraine’s organizing committee and key volunteers took place on in the middle of March in Odessa, in order to get ready for the upcoming annual Limmud FSU Ukraine 2019 event taking place this year in the city, after a successful 2017 event. Photo courtesy of Boris Bukhman

Galina Rybnikova and Osik Axelrud with Odessa’s Deputy Mayor Pavel Vugelman.





immud FSU recently completed a strategic planning process, recognizing that it is at a critical point in its development and needs to confront such issues as the balance between participation in festivals and ongoing engagement; nurturing leadership development versus providing educational opportunities; continued growth to new locations where there are substantial Russian-speaking Jewish populations versus consolidation in existing locations. The strategic plan was developed by Ukeles Associates after extensive research into the background to Limmud FSU; an internet survey of participants, presenters, volunteers and organizers, as well as a survey of potential target audience that has not participated in Limmud FSU festivals. We’re more than proud to present you the top reccommendations, that we’re arleady begun to implement in our global activity:

Limmud FSU should develop a new, more sustainable economic model with s greater financial contribution by participants.

While maintaining a global presence, Limmud FSU should focus expansion on the regions which include the vast majority of RSJs -- FSU, Israel, North America.

There is a need to re-build governance and approach to resource development to support transition from startup to emerging maturity & sustained growth.

A systematic, structured community development “pipeline” should link participants, volunteers and organizers.

Limmud FSU should strengthen its commitment to the core programmatic model.

The division of responsibility as between volunteer-led local groups and the global support structure needs to be clarified.

Partnerships, including co-branding, can be effective tools for funding, marketing, and broadening participation.

Limmud FSU should distribute and use the new mission, vision and core values statements.

In the spirit of Limmud FSU pluralism, opportunities for several models of Shabbat observance should be integrated into the Limmud FSU experience.


OUR SPONSORS AND DONORS, WITHOUT YOU NOTHING OF THIS COULD BE POSSIBLE : • Matthew Bronfman • • Aaron G. Frenkel • • Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG) • • Ronald Lauder • • Michal Grayevsky • • The Ministry of Diaspora Affairs • • Conference for Jewish Material Claims Against Germany • • American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) • • Diane Wohl • • Euro-Asian Jewish Congress (EAJC) • • Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG) • • Jewish National Fund (KKL) • • Nativ - Israel Prime - Minister’s Office • • Koret Foundation • • Blavatnik Family Foundation • • Jewish Agency for Israel • • Benevity Fund • • Chester Foundation • • Covenant Foundation • • Dutch Jewish Humanitarian Fund • • Edward Mermelstein • • Eugene Grant • • Eva & Louis Galpern Foundation •

• Fooksman Family Charitable Fund • • IKEA Israel • • International March of the Living • • Jim Joseph Foundation • • Joel Passick • • LA Pincus Fund • • Legacy Heritage Fund • • Limmud North America - Something for everyone grant • • Merill Kraines • • Michael Zurakhinsky • • Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel • • Rabbi Leonid Feldman • • Ruben Landsberger • • Sandra and Stewart Cahn • • Salarc Fund • • Shulem Fisher • • Tom Blumberg • • Wilf Family Foundations • • World Zionist Organization • • World Jewish Congress • • UJA Jewish Federation of New York • • UJA Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto • • Ukrainian Jewish Encounter (UJE) •





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