|Chaim Chesler||Sandra Cahn||Mikhail Chlenov|
Limmud FSU was founded in 2006 by Chaim Chesler (Israel), Sandra Cahn (USA), and Mikhail Chlenov (Russia). In its eighth year, Limmud FSU has a created a series of annual conference and festivals, attracting more than 27,000 participants, in Russia (Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Far East Russia), Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Israel, and North America (United States and Canada), with pilot expansion to Australia in 2015.
Limmud FSU engages young Russian-Jewish adults and empowers them to take ownership of their identity and connect with their communities through pluralistic, egalitarian volunteer-driven conferences of Jewish learning and culture. By bringing together and empowering these young Jewish adults, Limmud FSU strives to revitalize Jewish communities in the countries of the former Soviet Union, and in countries with Russian-Jewish communities, wherever they may be.
Built on the experience of an international group of Jewish leadership, working in close partnership with Limmud FSU volunteer leaders, Limmud provides a rich educational experience – for the community, to the community, and by the community. Limmud FSU shares in the core goals of diversity, learning, community and volunteerism with the other Limmud conferences throughout the world.
Limmud, a volunteer-driven Jewish learning experience, started in Great Britain 30 years ago. Since 1990, Limmud has spread to Jewish communities around the globe. The first Limmud Conference took place in the UK in 1980. This resulted in the idea of organizing local Limmud events for young Russian-Jewish adults. The Jerusalem Post reported in 2000, “Every place that has Jews should have its own Limmud.”
Seminars, lectures, workshops, and discussions focus on an enormous range of topics, from social and political trends within Jewish communities and around the world, to Israeli politics; from Jewish cooking; from traditional texts, Yiddish theater, dance and music.
Adapting the original Limmud model to the needs of Russian-Jewish communities, Limmud FSU has developed an approach to cultural and ethnic activities and conferences to reflect the unique plight of the Russian Jewry.
Utilizing the strength of Limmud model, volunteer training sessions and annual three-day Limmud FSU conferences in each location attract lecturers and educators from the countries of the former Soviet Union, Europe, Israel, and North America. Prominent writers, journalists, entrepreneurs and business leaders, scientists, actors and public personalities, including representatives from local Jewish organizations and communities, as well as a number of noted Jewish scholars and political figures, are among the presenters.
Local organizing committees in each country, composed mainly of young adults in their 20s and 30s, and programming and logistics committees are responsible for planning and implementing annual conferences and related local events.