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Limmud FSU Co-Founder Sandy Cahn Honored

On Monday evening at the festive annual reception of COJECO – the Central Council for Jewish Émigré Organizations, in Manhattan’s Museum of Jewish Heritage, Sandy Cahn of New York City became the first recipient of a new award to be known as “Inspirational Friend of the Russian Jewish Community.” Cahn, who has a long history of Jewish philanthropy behind her, was cofounder in 2006 (together with Michael Chlenov of Russia) and founder and CEO Chaim Chesler of Israel, of Limmud FSU, to provide a non-formal learning environment for young Russian-speaking Jewish adults in the Former Soviet Union, in the US and in Israel..

COJECO is a central coordinating body in New York, formed in 2001, to facilitate the successful integration of Russian-speaking Jews into the mainstream Jewish community and American society at large. COJECO supports its 43 member organizations, acts as advocate for the community’s needs and serves as a bridge between the Russian Jewish community and the wider Jewish community. It provides informal Jewish education, leadership training, assistance to American Jewish organizations in developing culturally sensitive and appropriate programs for Russian-speaking Jews, as well as help with program development, and preparing grant proposals.

In presenting the award to Sandy Cahn, Matthew Bronfman, Chair of the International Steering Committee of Limmud FSU, emphasized how much COJECO and Limmud FSU are working together in striving for a common cause – that of strengthening Jewish knowledge and identity among young Russian-speaking adults. Bronfman explained that his own deep interest in Russian Jewry stems in part from his grandfather, Samuel, who was himself born in Russia. Chesler stated that the honor paid to Cahn shows that Limmud FSU has become a worldwide initiative with global implications.

Cahn said that the honor she received validates all that Limmud FSU has been doing for the last five years. “COJECO and Limmud FSU share the same values of integrating young adults into the rich Jewish world of the United States, while at the same time, maintaining the unique Russian Jewish cultural heritage. Connecting the young generation of Russian speakers with their Jewish heritage through the informal education provided by Limmud FSU is a joy for me to witness.”

The next Limmud FSU conference in the United States will take place on 15 August, 2010, at the Hampton Synagogue, Westhampton Beach, Long Island, New York. Details can be found at www.limmudfsuusa.com

Picture caption
Left to right: Jewish Community Relations Council of New York Executive Vice President
Michael S. Miller; Chaim Chesler; Congressman Jerry Nadler; Sandy Cahn; UJA Federation of New York Executive Vice President John S. Ruskay; Matthew Bronfman