Many of you saw that Limmud FSU won the “Top Jewish World Story” in December 2011 in the Jerusalem Post. Though we are SO proud of this achievement and that the Newspaper gave us the opportunity to compete and get the most votes in terms of popularity, we are EVEN more excited about our program and prospects for 2012 as we move forward. We look forward to involving even more Russian Speaking Jewish young people in 6 countries, through informal education and the great program that Limmud UK has created.
Up until now which is entering our 7th year, we have touched at least 15,000 people and inspired and infused a sense of love of being Jewish and being part of the larger Jewish tradition and family.
In 2011 Limmud FSU has:
· Held our 6th consecutive conference in Moscow with 800 participants. The local organizing committee have become experts in professional networking, attracting many more participants to their events and implementing top-notch events for the local community.
· Enjoyed a conference in Beersheba in May with over 700 people coming to the Negev desert for two days. Dedicated to “Space, Science and Technology”, it marked the 50th anniversary of the first flight in space by Yuri Gargarin. The conference hosted Alexi Leonov (the first man to walk in space), Russian Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, and American-Jewish Astronaut Garret Reisman, as well as Rona Ramon, widow of Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon.
· Experienced a Limmud FSU Conference in Vinnitsa (Ukraine) in June as chosen to show that living evidence that Jewish life, culture, education and national identity is alive and thriving even after the Holocaust (in 1941 the entire population of Vinnitsa -25,000 people were massacred by the Nazis). Some 380 participants from all over the Ukraine took part
· Formed an organizing committee at Volunteers’ Retreat in July in New York. The committee has begun to work with a team of volunteers in preparation for a larger, three day event to be held in Princeton University and began training and planning session to implement the large event to take place in 2012.
· Piloted the first ever Limmud FSU conference in St. Petersburg, Russia for some 360 participants, in September which was sold out almost immediately. The organizers had to turn 150 people away because there simply was no place. Over 50 sessions, lectures, and workshops took place at the conference. Among the presenters were Steve Schwager, Executive Vice-President of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Gil Hovav, great-grandson of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda and a famous Israeli journalist, Ben Helfgott, Vice President of Claims Conference, members of the Knesset and Israeli Ministers.
· Carried on the tradition of having a Limmud FSU Conference in Odessa (Ukraine) in October. Attended by more than 600 young people from 14 countries, there was a successful collaboration with the European Jewish Union. Among the presenters were Andrei Makarevich, a famous Russian Rock Musician, Greg Schneider, Executive VP of the Conference for Jewish Material Claims against Germany, Yoram Dori, a strategic advisor to President of Israel, Shimon Peres, among many others.
· Created a long awaited FIRST-TIME Limmud FSU Global Summit in Jerusalem in December. We were able to bring together 50 Russian-speaking leaders from all over the world for professional training, team building and learning. Yuli Edelstein, Israeli Minister of Diaspora Affairs, Natan Sharansky, Chair of the Jewish Agency, Julius Berman, Chair of the Claims Conference, Clive Lawton and Carolyn Bogush of Limmud International, Prof. Hanoch Gutfreund of the Hebrew University and Director of the Albert Einstein Center, as well as Rabbi Menachem Hacohen and distinguished Israeli writer Etgar Keret delivered sessions. This was an exciting “first” for Limmud FSU and there were amazing group discussions and a community was solidified.
NEXT YEAR 2012 CAN AND WILL BE AS EXCITING BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP TO KEEP ON “THE WINNING STREAKS”!
In 2012 Limmd FSU plans to:
· Hold our traditional impactful conference in Moscow in April
· Have our Limmud FSU Princeton Gathering in May
· Start a new Limmud FSU in Moldova
· Begin a new Limmud FSU presence in Uzhgorod (Western Ukraine) in October
· Continue the enthusiasm of another Limmud FSU in St Petersburg next fall
· Inaugurate an exceptional Eco-Limmud FSU festival in one of the National Parks in the North of Israel during Sukkoth
If you know anyone who wants to participate, can be a supporter, or help in any way possible in helping to make all of these wonderful plans possible please, contact Roman Kogan, Limmud FSU COO, at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.limmudfsu.org
From all of us, to all of you! Hopefully 2012 will bring you health, happiness, and more wonderful Jewish experiences!!!
Chair of Limmud FSU
International Steering Committee
Founder and Chair of Limmud FSU
Sandra F. Cahn
Co-Founder and Co-Chair of Limmud FSU