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Limmud Moscow Winds Up
US-Russian Summit of Top Philanthropists in the Jewish World
on the eve of the opening of Limmud Moscow 2010, at a meeting to discuss ways and means for increasing informal Jewish education for young Russian-speaking Jews throughout the FSU.
l to r: Mikhail Fridman, Chair of the Alfa Bank and the Genesis Philanthropy Group; Matthew Bronfman, Chair, Limmud FSU Steering Committee.

If anyone was in doubt that there is a resurgence of Jewish life in the Former Soviet Union, they would certainly have thought otherwise had they spent a few hours in the occasionally exhausting but often exhilarating atmosphere of the Limmud Conference in Moscow that came to a conclusion this evening.

More than 550 young Jews from Moscow gathered together for three packed days of learning, participating and socializing with like-minded people. The Russian organizing committee was headed by Alexander Pyatigorskiy, Chair of Limmud Moscow, who declared at the opening ceremony that “this is the largest of all Limmud FSU meetings to date and it has attracted the elite of Jewish lecturers and presenters from Russia.”

The locals were supported by a large group of Israeli Limmud enthusiasts, including Eitan Haber from Yediot Aharonot, Yaron Deckel, of television and radio, Dr Tsvia Walden, a psycholinguist and the daughter of President Shimon Peres, Anna Azari, ambassador to the Russian federation and Dalia Rabin, former Knesset member and daughter of Yitzhak Rabin.

Limmud – founded in England 30 years ago – has grown exponentially and now takes place in many parts of the world. In 2006, Limmud FSU was founded by Chaim Chesler, who had been head of the Aliya Delegation to the FSU and treasurer of the Jewish Agency, together with Sandy Cahn of New York and Michael Chlenov, president of Vaad – the Federation of Jewish Organizations of Russia. The role of Limmud FSU is to bring the Jewish learning experience and a heightened sense of Jewish identity to Russian-speaking Jews wherever they may live. Matthew Bronfman owner of the IKEA chain in Israel, became enthused with the concept of Limmud and has become a major supporter. He is chair of the Steering Committee and was guest of honor at the opening ceremony.

One participant this year, from Moscow, 26 year-old Julia Fidelgots says, “Limmud is a very special event where you feel a deep sense of Jewish community. I’m here for a second time, first time as a participant, and now as a member of the organizing committee, because I enjoy being among people like me!”

Asher Weill