My participation in the recent Limmud FSU Conference for Russian speakers that took
place in Odessa this last November, allows me to bear first-hand witness, in the dual role of
participant and avid listener, to this event which has already gained a wide reputation, and
rightly so in my opinion. I participated as a Vice Chairman of the Claims Conference and I
was impressed by the way in which the Limmud event found the middle ground that appeals
to young Jews from the length and breadth of the former Soviet Union.
Tens of presentations took place during two densely-packed days on subjects ranging from
the Jewish heritage, tradition and history and the passing on to young people of today some
of the lessons of the past and imparting new messages for the present and the future.
Here at Limmud there are no compromises but also no extremes, just adhering to a central
path. Because of the choice of lecturers, some of whom are well-known, and all of them
having a wealth of experience in their own field, generally was in good taste. I personally
gave a talk on the conclusions to be drawn from the Holocaust and found a very attentive and
I have participated in several Limmud events in the past, but this was probably the most
impressive. Limmud is a project which covers a wide spectrum of topics and is an important
component in the process of revival of Jewish life in the countries of the Former Soviet
Moreover, thanks to its unique educational approach, Limmud managed to present the
difficult topic of the Holocaust in a way that makes it into one of the most widely-discussed
themes at the Limmud FSU conferences. In so doing, Limmud passes on an important and
vital awareness of the Holocaust to a new generation.
As a representative of the Claims Conference, I had the honor to participate, together with
Greg Schneider, the Executive Vice-President, and Baruch Shub, Chair of the Association
of former Partisan Fighters and a Deputy Chair of the Claims Conference, in a Holocaust
memorial ceremony commemorating the beginning of the Second World War. I am certain
that the Claims Conference will continue to support the vital work of Limmud FSU and even
increase its allocation in the years to come.
I see Limmud as a crucial builder of which I might describe as the “Jewish Middle Ground”
in the Former Soviet Union. One cannot disengage from the fact that you are Jewish or to
disengage from the fact that you are, at the same time, a humanist. And to be Jewish is first
and foremost, to be a humanist.
With best wishes,