LIMMUD FSU, BELARUS GOVERNMENT TO CONVENE FIRST-EVER JEWISH GATHERING IN MINSK 

 

MINSK, Belarus, May 9 – Limmud FSU, in partnership with the government of Belarus, the Belarus Jewish community and the Israeli Embassy of Belarus in Minsk, is convening the first Limmud FSU conference to be held in the capital this May 13-15.

With more than 750 participants from across the country, Limmud FSU Belarus promises to be the largest and most significant Jewish event locally in recent years, providing Belarus Jews an unprecedented cultural, educational, communal, and social experience

“This event – and the government’s support – underscores the strength of contemporary Jewish life in Belarus,” said Limmud FSU Founder and Co-Founder Chaim Chesler and Sandy Cahn. “We are witnessing a new era of Belarus Jews that have become completely independent and have defined the framework of Jewish life on their own, and for themselves. The Belarus Jewish community is proud and here to stay.

Limmud FSU Belarus will conclude with a special day in the city of Babruysk, premiering two photo exhibitions of Zionist pioneers whose roots were also in the area, journalists and political activists Abba Ahimeir and Berl Katznelson.

The former came from Dolgi, a village near Babruysk, while the latter was from Babruysk. Opening the photo exhibitions will be Ahimeir’s son, the prominent Israeli journalist Yossi Ahimeir, and his siblings, Ya’akov and Zeeva, as well as Katznelson’s niece, Dita (Judith) Vered-Katznelson. Yossi Ahimeir will also present a session on his father, while Dita will present a session about her uncle.

The day’s events will include a meeting with the city’s mayor and a tour of local Jewish points of interest.

“Limmud FSU in Minsk marks an important milestone in the history of the Union of Belarusian Jewish public organizations and associations. The Belarusian capital is the latest in a long list of cities worldwide that have hosted the international educational program of Limmud FSU,” said Boris Gersten, chairman of the Union of Belarusian Jewish Public Organizations and Communities.

Among top speakers at the conference will be former Israel Defense Forces General Uzi Dayan, whose family roots trace back to Belarus. Limmud FSU Belarus will open with a special ancestral tour of the town of Mir – some 52 miles southwest of Minsk – which Dayan’s grandfather Moshe Rabinovich called home. The tiny town once claimed a thriving Jewish community of more than 2,000 people, but most were killed after the Nazis captured the territory in 1941. Today Mir is a pastoral town of 2,600 people, with no remaining Jews.

Dayan, a nephew of the legendary Israeli Lt. Gen. Moshe Dayan, is a member of Israel’s Likud Party and was commander of Sayeret Matkal, the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) most elite special operations unit, before serving as head of the IDF’s Central Command and then as the IDF’s deputy commander.

Additional prominent participants will include Israel’s Minister for Social Equality Gila Gamliel; Member of Knesset Yechiel (Hilik) Bar, secretary general of the Labor Party and vice- speaker of the Knesset; Chief Rabbi of Minsk Shneur Deitch; Consul at the U.S. Embassy in Minsk Frederic Stern; Chief Editor of the Knizhniki publishing house and “Lechaim” magazine Boruch Gorin; the “People’s Artist of Russia” Klara Novikova; and many others.

For a full program of the conference, please visit: https://db.tt/UjgiP7mI.

Limmud FSU Belarus is being organized by local volunteers, including Gersten, who serves as honorary chair of the organizing committee; and Charge d’Affaires of Israel to the Republic of Belarus Julia Rachinski-Spivakov, who serves as honorary co-chair.