The Jewish festival Limmud Volga-Urals begin today in Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, with an inter-faith dialogue.
Kazan skyline (Image: TY-214 under a CC licence)
The largest Jewish festival in the region, Limmud Volga-Urals will this year feature a series of exceptional events. The first of these is titled “Interfaith Dialogue – Islam, Judaism, Christianity”, a conversation between religious leaders in the region. The discussion will be co-chaired by Chaim Chesler, founder of Limmud FSU (former Soviet Union), with the participation of the Chief Rabbi of Russia, the Chief Rabbi of Tatarstan, the head of the local Russian-Orthodox church, the Grand Mufti of Tatarstan, senior Islamic clerics and two prominent rabbis from Israel.
Later in the festival, Tatar President Rustam Minnikhanov, leaders of the local Jewish community and the Israeli Ambassador to Russia will take part in a ceremony to rededicate the 100-year-old Great Synagogue of Kazan.
Taking place at the same time as Limmud Volga-Urals will be the Kazan Festival of Jewish Music, jointly organised by the Jewish community and the government of Tatarstan.
Limmud Volga-Urals is a conference run entirely by local volunteers, and will feature presentations, workshops, discussions, cultural activities and artistic performances. The festival is coordinated by Limmud FSU, a Jewish educational organisation that aims to strengthen Jewish communities throughout the former Soviet Union.
Kazan is well-known as a multi-ethnic city, and has the third largest Jewish population in Russia.