Over 300 young Jewish Moldovans gathered in Chisinau for a day-long Limmud FSU festival, where they commemorated the life of Elie Wiesel. The event, which is geared towards Russian-speaking Jews, featured an array of world-class programs and international speakers
The events in Wiesel’s honor took place in the Chisinau Chabad Lubavitch Synagogue, the only local congregation that remains active today in a city that before the Holocaust housed more than 70 synagogues. It included a special Kaddish by Rabbi Zushe Abelsky (the son of the former Chief Rabbi of Moldova Zalman Abelsky), with Rabbi Mandy Axelrod; President of the Jewish Community of Moldova and the Honorary Chair of Limmud FSU Moldova Alexander Bilinkis; Limmud FSU Founder Chaim Chesler; and the man closest to Elie Wiesel for years and the founder of his archive at Boston University, Dr. Joel Rappel, who delivered the keynote speech.
Limmud FSU Moldova, a dynamic and pluralistic Jewish festival of culture, creativity and learning, proved to be one of the organization’s largest local Jewish gatherings in recent years. The gathering, which took place at the JCC Kedem, included over 60 sessions and 50 speakers from around the world, with workshops and discussions on subjects ranging from art to Jewish culture and tradition, history, politics, academics, business and lifestyles. It was sponsored by the Claims Conference, The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), Nativ, the Jewish Community of Moldova.
Among the featured presenters were Minister of Culture of Moldova Monika Babuk; Chairman of the Board of the Jewish Museum and Center of Tolerance in Moscow Rabbi Boruch Gorin; popular Russian-Israeli comedian Ilia Akselrod, Director of the Russian Department at the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Sam Kliger, First Secretary of the Israel Embassy in the Republic of Moldova and head of the Israel Cultural Center (Nativ) Mark Basin, Chair of the board of the Jewish community of Moldova Emmanuil Grinshpun and more.
"There is no doubt that Limmud FSU has become an important element in the Moldova Jewish community, not just in providing events packed with Jewish content, but also for the many people who have joined us as volunteers working on the planning, programming, logistics and administration of all our events" said Chaim Chesler at the opening ceremony. "Through this, we’re happy to be nurturing a new generation of leaders who are creating and revitalizing the Jewish community in Moldova."
"Since its inaugural conference in Moscow in 2006, Limmud FSU events have attracted more than 50,000 participants in Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Israel, North America, Western Europe and Australia," said Limmud FSU co-founder Sandra F. Cahn. "We hope that our conferences here will continue to bring a spirit of intellectual freedom to young Jews in a liberal, pluralistic, egalitarian, non-demanding and gender-free atmosphere of study – the personification of the Hebrew word ‘Limmud’ in its widest possible sense." This Limmud FSU Moldova was made possible by a team of local leaders and volunteers, including Marina Shuster, Kolea Railean, Julia Sheinman and Galina Rybnikova.
"Limmud FSU is a tradition that unites people who are close to each other in spirit. It’s a celebration of intellect, and the place of gathering for the most interesting, bright and educated audience. I want to thank all involved, and may our next events be an even bigger success than this one," said Bilinkis.