Some 950 people are expected to gather over this weekend for Limmud FSU Ukraine, the biggest event geared towards the Jewish community in the country. The event will take place in Odessa, one of the most important cities of Jewish and Zionist movement’s history in the former Soviet Union. Today there are about 400,000 Jews living in Ukraine, with more than 45,000 in Odessa.

Limmud FSU Ukraine, the dynamic and pluralistic Jewish festival of culture, creativity and learning, will feature an array of more than 180 world-class speakers from around the world on a multitude of subjects ranging from art, to Jewish culture and tradition, literature, music, theater, history, politics, business and lifestyle.

The event will feature a special ceremony and a concert celebrating Bob Dylan, one of the most prominent Jewish composers and musicians of our time. Dylan’s paternalmother, Anna Zimmerman, together with her husband Zigman, emigrated from Odessa to the US in 1910. The event will also include an exhibition on Dylan’s life “Forever young: behind Dylan’s revolution and legacy”, created by the Museum of Diaspora in Tel Aviv, and presented by one of its curators, Amitai Achiman.

Special recognition will be given to the 120th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress of 1897, to be celebrated this year, including a concert and several activities relating to the World Zionist Organization, with the participation of WZO Chair, Avraham Duvdevani. A commemorative plaque will be unveiled on the house where the distinguished Hebrew poet, Shaul Tchernichovsky, lived, in the framework of an official ceremony made possible by the efforts of Nativ and WZO.

“The Ukrainian-Jewish community is among the most thriving Jewish communities in the world, while the city of Odessa is one of the most important cities in Jewish history. We confidently expect that this Limmud FSU 11th festival in Ukraine will be an important part in the life of the Jewish community,” said founder Chaim Chesler, “and we look forward to an inspiring gathering, especially the celebration of Bob Dylan’s Jewish roots in Odessa.”

Among the presenters will be Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine Eliav Belotserkovsky; Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG) Vice-President for External Relations and former Israeli Ambassador to Russia, Dorit Golender; Executive Director of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, Haim Ben Yakov; Nativ’s countrty director for Ukraine Gennady Polischuk; Director of The Ukrainian Institute for the Study of the Holocaust Tkuma, Igor Shchupak; Board Member of Ukrainian-Jewish Encounter Adrian Karatnycky, popular Russian satirist and writer, Victor Shenderovich, and many more.

This event takes place with the generous support of Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG), Ukrainian Jewish Encounter (UJE), Nativ, Claims Conference and All-Ukrainian Jewish Congress.

“The key to Limmud’s success lies in its unique combination of learning, recreation and communication, which harmoniously unite and create a unique “Limmud” atmosphere, says Osik Axelrod, the Chairman of Limmud FSU Ukraine.

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