Despite high tensions between the United States and Russia, Moscow’s Jewish community will gather for the largest-ever festival for Russian-speaking Jews in the former Soviet Union. More than 2,500 will attend Limmud FSU’s 11th conference in Moscow, April 20-23.
Keynote speakers at the conference will include Russia’s Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar and Israel’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi). The event will feature more than 250 workshops, roundtables and children’s activities, as well as 12 lectures each hour on topics ranging from Jewish history, to politics, to cooking, to so much more.
Limmud FSU is a nonprofit which engages young Russian-Jewish adults, empowering them to take ownership of their identity and to connect with their communities through pluralistic, egalitarian volunteer-driven conferences of Jewish learning and culture. It was founded by Chaim Chesler, former treasurer of the Jewish Agency, and Sandra Cahn, a philanthropist from New York. Since its inaugural conference in Moscow, in 2006, Limmud FSU has created an independent educational and communal network of annual conferences and festivals, attracting more than 45,000 participants across Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Israel, North America and Australia.
“The expected record turnout is evidence that Jewish life is thriving in Russia,” said Limmud FSU Founder Chaim Chesler. “It warms my heart to see how proudly and openly Russian’s Jews celebrate their Jewish identities, which they have worked hard to define for themselves in the years in the years since the fall of the Soviet Union. Moscow’s Jewish community is here to stay.”
Other speakers and presenters at the conference will include Israeli Ambassador to Russia Gary Koren; former Israeli Ambassador to Russia Dorit Golender, who is vice president of Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG); American musician Joshua Nelson; film director Kirill Serebrennikov, who is artistic director of The Gogol center in Moscow; acclaimed Russian writer Eduard Uspensky; world-leading Kaballah teacher Eliyahu Yardeni, who heads the Moscow Kabbalah Center; Nazi hunter and historian Ephraim Zuroff; and Limmud FSU President Aaron Frenkel.
The conference will also celebrate the centennial of the Habima Theatre, Israel’s national theater and one of the first Hebrew-language theaters, which launched in Moscow in 1917. Attending to commemorate the 100th anniversary will be acclaimed Israeli actor Shmuel Atzmon-Wircer, Israeli theater and film composer Avi Benjamin, and Russian-Israeli Habima actress Evgenia Dodina.
This Limmud FSU Moscow is made possible by its team of local leaders and volunteers, including Limmud FSU Moscow Project Manager Anna Adamskaya, Mikhail Libkin, Alexandra Livergant, Alexander Piatigorskiy, and others.