At the opening gala of Limmud FSU’s Festival in Vitebsk (Belarus), the organization saluted Ralph Goldman on the occasion of his 100th birthday.

Those in attendance responded with enthusiastic applause and the singing of happy birthday in 3 languages – English, Hebrew and Russian.

The gala, held this afternoon at the National Theatre of Vitebsk, was attended by 700 participants. Joining the celebration was Israel’s Ambassador to Belarus Yosef Shagal; Chair of the Union of Belarusian Jewish Public Organizations Boris Gersten; and Minister of Culture of the Vitebsk province, Larissa Olanskaya. The ambassador thanked Limmud FSU for its contribution to strengthening cultural relations and tourism between the Jewish people and Belarus.

The gala included entertainment by well-known Jewish theatre actors from Moscow along with top Belarusian performers.

JDC, which was established the year Goldman was born, is among the donors to Limmud FSU.

Born on Sept. 1, 1914, in the town of Lechovitz in what is now Ukraine, Goldman immigrated with his family to the United States at the age of 11. He studied history at Harvard University before moving temporarily to Israel, where in the late 1930s he participated in the establishment of Kibbutz Hanita in the Galilee.

Goldman, who served as Israel’s envoy to the United States, was a driving force in JDC’s activity behind the Iron Curtain after he joined the organization in 1969.


Limmud FSU was founded nine years ago by Chaim Chesler and Sandra Cahn of New York City. Matthew Bronfman is the long-standing chair of the International Steering Committee. Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein recently joined the organization as Dean.

photos by Yossi Aloni

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