Ceremony for global terror victims to open Sept. 11 conference in Vaughan, Ontario

TORONTO, Sept. 7 – Some 400 people are expected to gather Sept. 11 for Limmud FSU Canada, a special event for young Russian-speaking Jews, at the Schwartz Reisman Centre in the Toronto Jewish suburb of Vaughan. Limmud FSU Canad will feature an array of world-class programs and speakers from around the world and include an opening Sept. 11 ceremony for victims of terrorism worldwide.

Limmud FSU Canada, a dynamic and pluralistic Jewish festival of culture, creativity and learning, promises to be one of the most significant local Jewish gatherings in recent years. This one-day event – only the third Limmud FSU Canada ever – will feature more than 30 inspiring speakers and 40 panels, workshops and discussions on subjects ranging from art, to Jewish culture and tradition, history, politics, academics, business and lifestyles.

Limmud FSU Canada, sponsored by the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, will explore a diverse array of topics including Jewish views of organ transplants, Jewish relationships, countering terrorism and challenges of Russian-speaking Jewish communities. That last topic is especially critical, with Canada among the most active centers of Soviet and Russian-Jewish immigration over the past four decades. Young Russian-speaking Canadian Jewish adults are growing increasingly interested in Jewish life, activism and volunteerism as an expression of Jewish identity.

Among the featured presenters will be Alexander Okun, a leading Israeli journalist, writer and artist; popular Toronto Rabbi Rafi Lipner; UJA Federation of Greater Toronto CEO Adam Minsky; head of Russian Jewry for the Jewish Agency Roman Polonsky; Canadian media personality Ezra Levant; business consultant Julia Pronin;Toronto comedian Ronen Geisler; Limmud FSU Canada Volunteer Committee Chair Irene Vacksman of Toronto; and many others.

“The Canadian Russian-Jewish community is experiencing a remarkable renaissance and we’re thrilled that Limmud FSU Canada can be a part of it,” said Limmud FSU Founder Chaim Chesler and Co-Founder Sandy Cahn. “We look forward to an inspiring gathering that will contribute to the tremendous vitality of Russian-Jewish life in Canada.”

Cahn, of New York, will also be among those speaking during an opening event memorial ceremony for victims of terrorism around the world.

“Although this is the third year of Limmud FSU in Canada, we are already seeing the fruits of our work. Our community has become more interconnected, we see increased interest in Jewish learning and traditions, and most importantly more people want stay in touch and contribute to community projects and initiatives. I think we are doing something right,” said Leon Martynenko, the Limmud FSU Canada organizing committee chair.

About Limmud FSU:

Limmud FSU is a nonprofit founded 10 years ago by Chaim Chesler, former treasurer of the Jewish Agency, and Sandra Cahn, a philanthropist from New York. Since its inaugural conference in Moscow in 2006, Limmud FSU has created an independent educational and communal network of annual conferences and festivals, attracting more than 35,000 participants in Russia (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Russian Far East and the Volga-Ural region), Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Israel, North America (Greater New York, the West Coast, and Canada), and Australia. Limmud FSU engages young Russian-Jewish adults, empowering them to take ownership of their identity and to connect with their communities through pluralistic, egalitarian volunteer-driven conferences of Jewish learning and culture. In this way, Limmud FSU strives to foster the next generation of young Russian-speaking Jewish leadership and so revitalize Jewish communities in the countries of the former Soviet Union, and in countries with Russian-Jewish communities, wherever they may be. Key partners include the Claims Conference, JDC, philanthropist Matthew Bronfman, Aaron Frenkel, Michal Grayevsky, Ronald Lauder, Diane Wohl, the Jewish National Fund (KKL), UJA-Federation of New York, Israel Bonds, the Jewish Agency, and others. For additional details:www.limmudfsu.org.